Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Artist Beth Elliott's rendition of the San Pedro High tsunami wave to come.
Students begin the work on the wave.

By Diana L. Chapman
It all came together in the curl of wave.
Students in San Pedro High’s environmental house were getting into recycling, cleaning up after football games and organizing beach clean ups.
Artist Beth Elliott, who works primarily with recyclable art, wanted to do more work with schools and didn’t have funding.
The Angels Gate Cultural Art Center received a $100,000 grant to bring art into Los Angeles Unified classrooms.
How plastic bottles can look like water.

And the San Pedro High Community Outreach Club, which links the community to students and students to the community, helped to bring it all together in one big sweeping project – an attempt to build a tsunami wave out of plastic bottles in the school’s senior court area.
A 90 foot long fence will act as the loom, explains artist Elliott, who already started the project last week, but needs thousands of plastic bottles to make the big splash she’s planning. To make the surf work over the next six weeks while getting ready for Earth Day (which will be celebrated at San Pedro High April 13) Elliott is looking for help from citizens as well as students. She needs people to save thousands of plastic bottles.
 “Like a tsunami, San Pedro High students are unstoppable and anything is possible,” she said. "'We can make fish and other sea life in the water,' a student chimed in and the concept grew. Like a tsunami, it began with a trickle and is rapidly growing. We hope to involve all facets of the student body in gathering bottles, weaving the wave and constructing sea life."
Ironically, it was one of those moments in time, where just like a wave, everything seemed to merge together. Students from the Community Outreach Club worked with Elliott to conceive the idea and were the first to launch the project last week. San Pedro High School’s principal, Jeanette Stevens, said she would “stand on her head” to received the funding from the Angels Gate Cultural Center. And the cultural center agreed to supply the funds.

 “I am thrilled to be able to officially notify you that the Angels Gate Cultural Center is able to fund an Artist in Classrooms residency at San Pedro High School!,” wrote  Laurine DiRocco, who is in charge of the funding for Angels Gate. ..The AGCC will fund 36 hours of artist-teacher contact with students, plus a guarantee of $510 toward supplies…we, at Angels Gate Cultural Center, are very excited about SPHS’s Tsunami project!”

Hundreds of students are expected to participate. Students began slicing plastic bottles last week and weaving them into the fence after coloring them with permanent marker pens that will give glints of blues and greens to appear more like moving water.

Principal Stevens said she was delighted by the program.

“I am thrilled that art and recycling have joined together to bring an old fence to life!” Steven’s e-mailed. “And this yet another exhibit (literally this time!) of how our school community comes together to create and energize the culture at San Pedro High School.
“The Community Outreach Club of San Pedro High Schools works to bring non-traditional resources into our school to connect with the growing and expanding interests of our students. Yet again, student and volunteer outreach have brought an incredible program to our school that this time includes recycling, art, and campus beautification.”
Excited students gathered last week to begin the tsunami, weaving in out plastic strips through the fence and eager to see the outcome. Some students are even encouraging the community to participate.
Said Dominique Rubens, 18, a senior, who helped generate the art work: “It is a beautiful project. It’s sending a blessing of consciousness through a wave of a tsunami. I think it will teach kids there’s a fun way to use recyclables and given them a different perspective. And it gives them a great sense of art.”

To donate your plastic bottles, email Diana at hartchap@cox.net or beth-elliott@sbcglobal.net.