February 1, 2014, over 300 works of space-themed art by 1,632 Kansas students from 23 schools will go on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. The exhibit, developed in partnership with the International Fiber Collaborative, presents art created for The Dream Rocket Project (DRP), and the Cosmosphere is one of over 134 locations to have displayed pieces from the collection over the past three years.
In 2008, a group of educators and artists formed the International Fiber Collaborative (IFC), a non-profit organization with a mission to create deeper learning experiences through art, collaboration and cross-curricular themed programming for individuals and their communities. In 2009, IFC launched The Dream Rocket Project with the goal of collecting 8,000 pieces of artwork from students across the globe to be stitched together to wrap the 363 foot Saturn V replica for a temporary exhibit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. in 2015.
So far, art submissions have been received by individuals in 17 countries, 46 states and 363 communities, and have been displayed in libraries, schools, museums, and community centers across the United States. By 2015, DRP estimates 36,000 people will have contributed to a monumental 32,000 square foot wrap.
"Through this exhibit, visitors will see the many ways that students have expressed their understanding of what space, exploration and imagination means to them," said DRP organizer Jennifer Marsh. "By exposing students to the importance of collaboration through multi-disciplinary approaches, we hope to inspire them to feel the freedom to dream big."
Art on exhibit at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center explores the theme of "Space." Sub-themes include the Curiosity rover, space travel, deep space, solar system, planets, the Apollo program, space vehicles and technology, Mars and more. Most students worked in groups of six or more; discussed, researched and planned their submissions as a team.
"The Dream Rocket Project is just one of the multidisciplinary offerings the Cosmosphere has the privilege of offering in 2014, and it highlights the importance of combining the arts and sciences in education," said Tom Holcomb, Cosmosphere Director of Education and Box Office Operations. "We recently established a new educational initiative combining creative and technical learning with a field trip offering, 'The Art and Science of Conservation,' underwritten by Alcoa Foundation and supported by Fort Hays State University. Students who experience this program explore the history of the Apollo program before viewing the ongoing conservation of the Apollo F-1 engines currently underway at the Cosmosphere's SpaceWorks facility. After visiting the engines, students are challenged to create their own works of art, in any media they choose, channeling the inspiration they felt while viewing the beautiful, twisted pieces of metal that represent one of the most important periods in our nation's history.
"We are constantly searching for new, innovative ways to ignite that spark in the next generation of explorers, and there is a definite, proven value to programs that challenge students to learn in different ways. The Dream Rocket Project does this in a unique way, and we're honored to showcase the talents of young Kansas artists."
Teachers interested in signing their classes up for "The Art and Science of Conservation" field trip experience can do so by calling (620)662.2305 or (800)397.0330.
The Dream Rocket Project exhibit will be on display in the Cosmosphere's Hall of Space Museum and Rotunda February 1 through March 31, 2014. Hall of Space Admission is required for entry into the exhibit, though Cosmosphere Members, Reno County residents and contributing artists receive complimentary museum admission.
Sunday, February 9, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Cosmosphere is offering complimentary Hall of Space admission to view The Dream Rocket Project artwork and talk with contributing artists in attendance, kicking off the Grand Opening of the exhibit. Educators and artists from all 23 contributing schools have been invited to attend and discuss their experience in the program.
The Grand Opening occurs during the Cosmosphere's Open House, which takes place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. A full schedule of Open House events is available at cosmo.org.
DRP Director Jennifer Marsh currently resides as a fellow of the Donald B. and Twila Catron Sr. Professorship of Art at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. More information about The Dream Rocket Project is available online at thedreamrocket.com.