As part of our Fur-Vor project, UpCycle is bringing creative reuse art experiences to ten City of Alexandria Recreation Centers from November 2014 - March 2015. This outreach involves almost 500 children enrolled in the Out of School Time program, who through UpCycle's Fur-Vor project meet with a dog and then create art featuring dogs.
UpCycle directors Susan Miranda and Kelley Organek talk with the children about meeting the dog before he or she visits the group. While many children readily share their wonder for dogs and positive experiences with dogs, some children also share tentative feelings about meeting the dog during UpCycle's visit.
We ask, "What do you wonder about dogs?" and here are some of the children's responses:
Why can't they have chocolate?
Why do they like to chase cats?
How can dogs chew hard bones? It doesn’t even make their teeth wiggle.
What's inside dogs?
I’m nervous to go around dogs because they bark at me.
I want to know if he will bite!
Most of the dogs involved in the project are brought by volunteers from P.A.L., People.Animals.Love., a local therapy dog group and others will be from the City of Alexandria's K-9 unit. The children learn how to properly greet a dog for the first time, and they test out their new skills by approaching the dog quietly, asking the owner for permission to pet the dog, offering a closed fist for the dog to sniff, and then if all goes well, petting the dog on its back.
During UpCycle's visits, children paint reclaimed boards for their artwork and use many unique materials to create images of dogs. As the children work, they reveal more about their thoughts and feelings about dogs.
To date, UpCycle has engaged children from the Mt. Vernon, Nannie J. Lee, MacArthur and Charles Houston Recreation centers in creative reuse art featuring dogs.
UpCycle will be marching in the Scottish Walk Parade on December 6th, wearing the dog masks and pulling the papier-mâché dog from Art Safari. On December 14th, we'll be at the AWLA with Sediment Press, screen printing dog themed gift wrap. For more information about UpCycle and future community events related to our Fur-Vor project, see UpCycle's website at www.UpCycleCRC.org or contact Kelley Organek at kelley@UpCycleCRC.org or 703-761-8705.