To design a public art sculpture for the West 7th Community Center Park in St. Paul, local artist
Estela De Paola de Lerma
collaborated with Girl Scout Troop 52512
The sculpture celebrates the transformation of the park, which was perceived as unsafe just a couple of years ago. Today, the park includes a jungle gym, swings, and other play areas, according to the Pioneer Press
In a first workshop with the children, the artist went over “the basics of three-dimensional art, public art guidelines, and the purposes of public art,” she explains.
Afterward, the children came up with some ideas that they used to create cardboard models. A final model incorporated everyone’s voices.
From there, de Lerma crafted a life-sized model out of foam core, adding a base to comply with the city’s requirements.
The resulting sculpture, titled “Our World,” came together through donations, including powder-coating from the city, that covered thousands of dollars of expenses.
The process took about a year. “The girls couldn’t weld, but they did the design. The ideas are theirs,” she says of the eight-foot-tall metal sculpture.
In the piece, Girl Scouts are shown hand-in-hand embracing a yellow globe.
Each row of figures is painted to correspond with a different level of the Girl Scouts.
Their message reflects the fact that they care about the world, according to de Lerma, who has a daughter in Girl Scouts. The figures come in all shapes and sizes. “Everyone is included, that’s why it’s ‘Our World’,” she says.
The girls’ names and troop also appear on the piece.
“My generation wouldn’t believe that a child could be a sculptor,” she says.
De Lerma says she was interested in the project because it proves that public art involving children can “be more than a mural. It’s a nice way of connecting the community with the place and the art” and with self-expression.
Source: Estela De Paola de Lerma
Writer: Anna Pratt