Last summer, local artist and sculpting instructor Hellen Eberhardie Dunn set out to create a sustainability-minded art workshop for kids. By this spring, 15 local elementary school students had helped her create a show worthy of three rooms at the FAC Modern.
The BluePrints Project actually came together over just two days at the end of March. That's when Eberhardie Dunn, the students and a few other adults collaborated at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Heller Center to create a collection of eco-inspired works with a decidedly scientific edge.
In one room hangs a nearly 10-foot mobile, made from recycled wood blocks that the students decorated with painted images of flowers and grasses and plaster casts of hands. In another, ghostly botanic outlines emerge from deep blue cyanotype prints; cyanotype photography, Eberhardie Dunn explains, which is still sometimes used for architectural blueprints, exposes simple chemicals through sunlight.
"The lovely thing about it is that it is natural, in the sense that you rely on the sun," she says. "You do a dance with the elements."
She adds that it isn't so uncommon to see scientific processes in art.
"I know that as a sculptor and a photographer, I have to employ all sorts of processes, whether it has something to do with the furnace or photographic processes with chemicals ... that's just very basic," Eberhardie Dunn says. "You can take it a lot further."
Likewise, she explains that those in the fields of science employ creative thinking in their studies and research. Fittingly, a video projection of a swirling nine-foot DNA graphic fills the third room.
At its core, the two-day workshop helped the children to depolarize the spread between right- and left-brain thinking in art. But simply organizing a sophisticated exhibit, Eberhardie Dunn adds, was also an important aspect: "I wanted to make it something really professional and exciting for them."