Silvermine Arts Center, CMS, and the City of Norwalk celebrate a new season of Fodor Farm “Garden People”
May 23, 2023
Left: Students reading their poetry banners and visiting a “Garden Person”. Right: City of Norwalk Common Council President Greg Burnett with one of the sculptures.

NEW CANAAN, CT, May 23, 2023—Norwalk’s Concord Magnet School first graders, along with their teachers, Principal Medard Thomas, and City of Norwalk Common Council President Greg Burnett gathered on May 18 to celebrate the seasonal return of this year’s Fodor Farm “Garden People,” a Silvermine Art Partners, CMS, and City of Norwalk collaboration. The “Garden People” are over-sized sculptures designed and painted by students in a multi-disciplinary project that melds the science curriculum and hands-on collaborative work of sculpture and painting. A generous grant from the Hearst Foundation supports the in-depth program, which is closely tied to STEM studies.

Each year Silvermine Arts Center brings its Art Partners program to Concord Magnet School first graders. Working collaboratively, students use the sculptural “Garden People” as their canvas while studying about the plant cycle. Students learn illustration and brushwork techniques as they explore the properties of plants and pollinators. The students write about the parts of plants and then paint details of fruits and vegetables on the sculptures—an integration of science, language arts, and visual arts. Silvermine Arts Center Teaching Artist Marta Kot leads the students as they mix colors, consider the space on the surface of the tall sculptures, and visualize how their artwork will look standing upright.

This year, eleven banners adorn the fences encircling the upper and lower gardens at the Farm. Showcasing the students’ research and the visual aspects of the plants they learned to draw and paint, these vibrant banners feature the poems written by the CMS first-graders. Each component of their study explores an essential theme developed at CMS: The interdependence of plants, animals, and people.

Representing the City of Norwalk, Greg Burnett congratulated CMS and Silvermine Arts Center on this year’s installation. “This is a great collaboration for the students to display their artistic talents and add additional beauty to the farm. The Fodor Farm “Garden People” look fantastic and enhance the life of the gardens. What is most impressive is the student educational experience, which included learning about the plant cycle while having fun—the perfect combination. The arts are such an important contributor to a flourishing community. Thank you again to our talented students and to the Silvermine Art Partners for your innovation and commitment to the beauty of Norwalk.”

CMS prioritizes interdisciplinary social studies, and the first-grade project fosters an abundant sense of community. Students gain knowledge of gardening, farming, and the environment while they experience the joyful collaboration of creating a public art installation. Lead Teacher Jennifer Imhoff shared her thoughts: “Fodor Farm ‘Garden People’ is a visual art/poetry connection—a public art project that brings children’s creativity to the community. The children have the opportunity to express what they have learned through multiple intelligences—spatial, kinesthetic, linguistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. We are so thankful to Silvermine Arts Center and the City of Norwalk.”

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