Some may have noticed a blue school bus parked near the boardwalk at Beach 94th Street last weekend. The vehicle is part of the Blue Bus Project, a cultural vehicle that takes artistic expression on the road.
The Blue Bus Project will be in Rockaway for the next few weeks for RE(F)USE ME!, a series of sustainable art workshops for the youth, aimed at raising public awareness on recycling and re-purposing materials. The main goal of the workshops is to spark conversation about waste and, through art, to motivate participants to think about their environment and how to collectively get involved in their community.
The workshops are held at the Blue Bus, a school bus that functions as a mobile art gallery and incubator that provides a safe space for artists and communities to merge. The bus made its first appearance on July 16, to complement the 14 Sculptors outdoor art gallery along Shore Front Parkway. Over the next few weeks, workshops of different themes will take place at the bus while it is parked at various park locations. The RE(F)USE ME workshops will run during summer school break as a way to give kids, whose families cannot afford to send them to summer camp, an opportunity to have a fun, interactive and educational experience during their vacation. The workshops take place in four locations to show how different areas of a larger community can come together and connect through an invisible web made of art with a social purpose. The overall intention is to bring elements of everyday life directly into an artwork. The work done in each individual workshop will culminate in the creation of a sculpture. The final unveiling will be held on August 6 at Beach 94th Street and Shore Front Parkway, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The workshops, all from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be on Saturday, July 22 at Beach 30th Street Playground, Saturday, July 29 at Bayswater Park, Sunday, July 30 at 59th Street Playground and Saturday, August 5 at Hammel Playground. The artists hosting these workshops include Annalisa Iadicicco, Natasha Lardera, Chris Villafuerte, Maria Liebana and Daniel Valle.
Why was Rockaway chosen for this project? It coincides with the 14 Sculptors art exhibit, which aims to bring art to the community, while also educating the public. Rockaway draws large crowds and the beaches have become increasingly dirty, with people leaving trash behind. Despite beach cleanups and Parks Department efforts to add more garbage cans, the problem continues. Things like cigarette butts, used plastic cups, forgotten toys and morsels of food are left behind each day. This waste winds up in the ocean, resulting in a negative impact on marine life. The Blue Bus Project aims to educate the public on the importance of cleaning up and recycling, while doing it in an artistic manner. Through the project, kids will get to turn recycled objects into artistic treasures.
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