On March 18, Sticky celebrated its 2nd annual Sticky Day.
The day is designed and built by the kids in the After School Program, ages 6-12, with support from studio facilitators. In planning, we ask the kids, "What do you love about Sticky?" - "How can you share it with the community around us?" Their big idea since the beginning is that they can create straight from their imaginations ("We can do whatever we want!"); The limits being that they have to try to use what is in the studio, and they can't spend too much money. The kids invite their families and friends, and the place fills up quickly. The theme this year? An Undersea Carnival, plus an alien and a giant panda, of course.
The other thing that happened since the beginning is that somehow the kids are under the spell of needing to build giant animal-like sculptures that magically spew sweets or treats after being prompted by a question from the crowd. "Oh, panda, I am so hungry..." or a riddle, or a song. The treats come out of mouths- the giant panda gives homemade cookies; or spouts- the giant narwhal spews freshly popped popcorn through a paper roll tube. It is a sight to behold, and a wonder for the families. The kids are really proud.
The whole studio space from entrance to back courtyard is decorated for the event. Hand built mermaids swing from wires, a treasure chest full of creations, small cardboard crabs scuttle around by a stick, and scuba gear made of plastic packaging sits in a basket, which you are required to wear while swishing through the space. Next a cave of wonder, and an umbrella jellyfish, all with the lights down low and twinkles hanging from above.
The creativity and pride of the children is oozing out of every carnival stop, and the visitors scoot excitedly from place to place, gathering their treats and gasping with wonder. The energy is contagious. Outside, they can make their own lemonade and build a snack shack out of crackers and cream cheese. They have created a wonderland for themselves and their families, built with recycled and reused materials, with tape, with glue, with sand, with cardboard, with paint, with friends, with laughter. It is a piece of magic, out of the creative minds of children so often sabotaged by passive entertainment and brightly lit screens.
Over the year, they have learned about different reuse and natural materials, different tools and techniques, the properties of things, how things move, and go together. With that information they are allowed to design and build. They can "do what they want." They are allowed time to investigate. They make mistakes and find their own way of doing things. They develop their own styles, and also a collective way of working. They create for others to share in their joy.
I love THAT about Sticky. Can't wait to see what they come up with next year.