Walk inside the Remida at IPS/Butler University Laboratory
School 60
and you’ll find all kinds of cool, unusual and hard-to-describe
items. That’s where the 22 students in Robin Houdek’s third-fourth grade studio
art class began their search for the recycled materials used to create more
than 30 bees.


Many of their 3D works are on display in the “Save the Bees”
exhibit at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.


Sponsored by the Arts
Council of Indianapolis
, Earth
Charter Indiana
and Bee Public
through a Sustained Indy grant — the exhibit runs through the end of April and
features “bee works” from students throughout the state.


Nearly 200 works of art — bees, hives, paper drawings and
more — are hanging from the ceiling and intricately placed along window ledges
throughout the Artsgarden. Jim Poyser, executive director of Earth Charter
Indiana and organizer of the exhibit, said 20 Indiana schools participated,
including four from IPS (Butler Lab, Center for Inquiry School 2, Sidener
Academy and Cold Spring). 


At Butler Lab, students utilized everything from a computer
mouse to old dominos, toilet paper rolls, fabric and even plastic wheels to
create their works. The results are innovative, unique and imaginative. Just
what Houdek was hoping for.


“What was awesome about this project is that I selected a
range of colors of materials and brought them in (the Remida, a room at the
school filled with recycled items donated by the community) and they all got to
go ‘shopping’ for several items to start with,” said Houdek. “They were able to
see how they can be inspired by found objects. How they can see eyes in an
object or see wings in an object and then use that to build a creation off of


Students simply needed the vision to turn the recycled
objects into those beloved and sometimes feared flying insects.


Cameron H. used miniature toy wheels for the eyes, a screw
for the stinger and an old film canister for the body of one of his bees.


Abigail L. selected a doorknob for the body, yellow cupcake
wrappers for the wings and “what looks like car mats,” she said, for the
stripes and legs of one of her bee creations.


While PaShence P. used a receipt roll for the body, wheels
for the eyes, an adapter plug for the stinger and cut-up pieces of fabric from
a duck costume for one of her bees.


“It was too fluffy and I could not resist,” said PaShence
about her use of the soft, yellow fabric.


Many of the students in Houdek’s class created more than one
bee, with several also participating in collaborations. Cameron, Abigail and
PaShence all have at least one of their works of art in the exhibit.


“If you got lucky and yours was really creative, you got
yours on display at the Artsgarden,” said Cameron.


Actually, it was a little more strategic than that. Houdek and
a couple of other teachers at Butler Lab School chose the bees on exhibit based
on their completeness.


“We also chose the most varied selection. We wanted to have
a good representation of the class – girls, boys, diverse backgrounds and
experiences that the kids have,” said Houdek. “We just wanted a wide range of
kids to be able to participate in it.”


They eventually selected the work of 11 students to
represent the class in the exhibit.


There wasn’t a formal opening for “Save the Bees” but Poyser
said Mayor Joe Hogsett will kick off Earth Day at 9:30 a.m. on April 22 inside
the Artsgarden surrounded by the handmade insects. Students from all four
participating IPS schools are scheduled to attend — with some using “green”
ways to get there. Some will walk; others will ride IndyGo with Poyser.


While not everyone’s bee creations made it into the exhibit,
others will get their time in the spotlight during Butler Lab School’s Bulldog
, an adults-only school fundraiser on April 16 at Bent Rail Brewery.


Overall, Houdek said participating in the bee project has
been a great experience for everyone. And in true teacher fashion, she found a
way to make the project even more educational.


In addition to the students learning about dimensions and
scale while creating their works of art, Bee Public’s Kate Franzman, a beekeeper
and educator, visited Butler Lab School to talk to the students about the


“I wanted them
to be more familiar with bees, in general, so that they felt confident making
sculptures out of recycled materials. The more exposure they have to bees, the
more likely I thought it would be for them to ‘see’ bees in the found objects,”
said Houdek. “I also wanted them to understand why the bee exhibit was
happening in the first place, and how our participation was a way for
us to help tell others about this important issue in our


We want to congratulate all of our IPS scholars
who participated in the “Save the Bees” project.    


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