ending of project phase

Brightworks student presentations are happening next week! Project phase – as well as the month of May in general – just flies by and I can’t believe we’re already approaching the end of the school eyar. These past few weeks have been a frenzy of activity as the kids put the final touches on their projects, last edits on their movies, test runs of their mirror mazes, marshmallow roast and pie baking testing, and putting the finishing brushstrokes on their portraits. We are so excited to see what they present to the school for this Mirrors arc.

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elephant progress

The Elephants’ projects are coming along! Oscar, Rhone, and Lukas are working on a telescope, and Norabelle has been coming a long way on her bust sculpture.

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a few things

Last week at Brightworks, a few simple but amazing things made the non-Brightworks crew pleased to be here:

A parabolic mirror came together.

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Researchers reflected on and read their essays.

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The lost-and-found became an art installation on the cork floor (before being bundled up and donated).

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Moms were appreciated.

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Grace’s art installation opened at the Southern Exposure art gallery.

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Students made succulent holders.

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Careful painting in the art studio.

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A face was plastered for a mask.

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Hair was braided.

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…among other sweet simple moments at our little school.

self-portrait analysis

During the Mirrors arc, the Hawks worked on essays describing and analyzing the self portraits done by several different artists: Frida Kahlo, Vincent van Gogh, Romaine Brooks, Gwen John, and Norman Rockwell. They have all finished their hard work on these essays – and they’re amazing! I wanted to share a few excerpts from their essays along with the portraits they chose to write about.

In Gwen John’s Self Portrait she paints herself as a woman of society. She is wearing red a checkered shirt and she has a black shawl on. Her facial expression seems stern. Gwen John might be wearing fancy clothes but she is not happy.
– Aurora

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Norman Rockwell uses posters to express how he changes as artist. First he is laying down then he is arched and in the middle he is sitting straight because that was when he had the most work. Norman Rockwell painted so many paintings and this painting is the diagram of his life.
– Quinn

His drawing doesn’t have as much detail because he didn’t add his glasses or a body. The image shows the way he truly is and the his drawing is a interpretation of himself and his passion.
Norman Rockwell in triple-self portrait depicts his passion for painting by capturing his process. He told stories with his painting showing regular day life, but in triple self-portrait he shows what it is to by an artist.
– Bruno

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In all of Frida’s portraits her face is very serious but she uses vibrant colors. She uses a lot of red and orange because they are love colors. There is a lot of white because it’s a peaceful color and it brings attention to the note she made. All the color bring out the joy that used to fill her and takes away some of the depression inside of her
– Lucy

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In Romaine Brooks’s time women wore frilly dresses and skirts when men were black suits. Women got judged if they wore men’s clothes. Romaine Brooks was expressing herself through her clothing.
Brooks is hiding herself by using very dark colors and hiding her eyes in a mysterious way. The black of her suit brings out the pale skin but the hat is shading her eyes in a way that says she doesn’t want to come out of the hiding spot that she found.
– Clementine

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Vincent Van Gogh might not have been the best person but he was a great painter. He was really angry but he did a new type of painting and thats a big part about why I like him. What I like about him is that he had a unique way of painting and uses color. In his last self portrait he uses line and color to express his feelings.
– Ben

Van Gogh Self-Portrait

Gwen Johns facial expretion and the way she looks at you makes you think she’s brave to look at you, but also small, little and sad. In the time when Gwen John was painting women rarely looked at you in portraits. It was almost a chalinge to look at you but in all her paintings Gwen John always looks at you. When Gwen John looks at me it makes me feel sad for her.
– Natasha

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Frida Kahlo used color to symbolize sadness from heart break. In the two Fridas Diego did not love the un colorful lonely Frida on the left whose heart is not whole, he loved the happy, colorful Frida whose heart is whole. She shows that with color. The fact that there are two Fridas shows how you can feel more than two feelings at the same time.
– Lola

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megaband departs!

The Megaband, along with Christie, Phillip, and Jaqi, are gone for a whole week at the Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. So exciting! The collaborators have planned an incredible line-up of experiences, from excursions with the National Park Association and star gazing with astronomers, to time working on the Mirrors arc projects and visiting the Integatron to hear its unique sounds. There have been mirrors art installations popping up all over the desert and they will be visiting them to see their unique take on the mysterious and beautiful landscape that is Joshua Tree. Though it is a no-tech trip, we got this glimpse of them yesterday via Ellen’s phone:

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We can’t wait to hear updates and stories of their adventures, and I hope to post as much as I can! Though these San Francisco natives assured me that they would melt in the heat, I can’t imagine that they’re having anything but an incredible time. We wish we were all there!

go extinct on kickstarter

One of our community mentors, Ariel, a biologist and science educator who served as an expert during the Clocks arc, just launched her all-new card game, Go Extinct! on Kickstarter.

It takes Go Fish to the next level by teaching players about evolution. The Megaband students worked with Ariel quite a few times during the last arc to playtest and work on the details of Go Extinct! They wrote a ton about it on their school blogs! As Ariel told us, the kids gave high value feedback on early iterations of the game and helped work on the details. They even star in the Kickstarter video and in pictures throughout the page.

For her Clocks arc project, Jane created her own Cat Family version of Go Extinct! – and she is featured on the Kickstarter page. Jane’s design process began with parsing a primary scientific article published in Science and ended with her designing the board game colors and card flavor text. Ariel and her team took inspiration from their work with her and are offering five backers for the project an opportunity to design their own expansion pack.

In order to be successful, the Kickstarter campaign must reach $15,000 before May 31st. You can pledge and get an early copy of the game on the page here. Help support this great resource and awesome game!