College capstone project gets fourth graders involved in art, government
A town hall meeting of sorts was held Friday at Shepherdstown Community Club in order for the delegates of Potatoworld, representing the citizens therein to declare their independence from the United States-for two hours.
The project was the brain-child of Shepherd University senior, Patrick Facemire, who made this project his Capstone.
“I wanted to do something new and conceptually fun for kids because I’m interested in getting the new generation to care more about art. I wanted to introduce them to making art on a scale that I do, in a new and contemporary way,” said Facemire.
The entire fourth grade at Shepherdstown Elementary collectively named the new land, “Potatoworld.”
The three fourth grade classes each got to create a province of Potatoworld, ending up with Artistia, Pugville, and Mexican Jumping Bean.
Facemire said that the elementary school was already used to working with artists so they were receptive to having him come every other week to work on the projects with the kids.
Facemire did large, detailed and intricate canvas paintings that each incorporate the history, culture and economy of the provinces.
In addition to Facemire’s art, each student painted different aspects of the history of their province, and painted self-portraits to display at an art show prior to the town hall meeting.
“Children are very intelligent,” said Facemire. “They will give you a lot of interesting ideas. They know what’s going on.”
Facemire clearly had a good rapport with the children, allowing them to be themselves and be creative, taking their ideas for a land, art and government, and seeing it to fruition. The children enjoyed working with him on this project said Sylvia Trevathan, one of the fourth graders.
Trevathan, delegate to province of Mexican Jumping Bean, explained a bit about her province, saying that there are no potato chips, french fries or any other crimes against potatoes are permitted.
“Jumping McJumpingson, a jalapeno, is the bad guy in the history (of the province of Mexican Jumping Bean),” said Trevathan. “He tried to make all the potato citizens into french fries and Jake Potato, President, pushed him off a cliff. But then Jake Potato felt bad and resurrected Jumping McJumpinson and made him Vice-President of the land.”
Town Hall commenced with the singing of each province’s national anthem, followed by salute. The Pugville salute gesture is a “facepalm”, the Artistia gesture is called “the dab” and Mexican Jumping Bean’s gesture is a fist roll called the “Cha-Cha”. Facemire moderated the ensuing discussion while Trevathan and delegates from the other two provinces, Emily Perrotte, representing Artistia and Isaac Workman, representing Pugville read the by-laws and history of the province before taking questions from the numerous audience members. Several of the people asking questions were accused of treason by the fourth graders and had to apologize to the state before proceedings could continue. The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes before dissolving into giggles and chaos.
“I wasn’t sure how many of the students would show up today since it’s the first day of vacation,” said Facemire, “but I told them all regardless of how many come, I’m happy to be having this art show with them.”
Facemire would like to be employed as an artist and says he will probably continue with school to get his Masters of Fine arts. He has an art show coming up in December at the Engine Room Art Space in Hagerstown, Maryland.