Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Through the Lens of The Five-Year-Old: The Dedham Public Art Project

A five-year-old girl holding a camera is seen through the blue striped ears of a giant bunny

The Five-Year-Old at work (Photo: Michael Howell)

As I mentioned a few days ago, The Five-Year-Old has recently been promoted to Caterpickles Official Junior Photojournalist. For her first assignment, The Five-Year-Old has elected to develop a 15-post Photo Documentary of the Dedham Shines Public Art Project going on this summer in nearby Dedham, Massachusetts.

Some background: Dedham Shines is a local non-profit organization dedicated to

promoting a vibrant community through programs that cultivate civic engagement and support for art, education, and culture.

(Yeah, I pulled that from their website, and it kind of feels like cheating, but translating mission statements into plain English is really hard for me.)

In an effort to raise the profile of local artists and raise funds to support local art programs, Dedham Shines is in the process of installing 15 artist-painted fiberglass rabbits in various public spaces across the town of Dedham. Three bunnies have been installed so far. Local readers can find them at the Dedham Whole Foods in Legacy Place, the Dedham Community House on Ames Street, and the common at Oakdale Square. Two more will be installed at the Dedham Town Hall and at Endicott Library in the next week, with the rest to follow in July.

Although the form of each sculpture is the same — the iconic crouching rabbit made by Dedham Pottery during America’s Arts & Crafts period — the designs applied to that form are the artists’ own creation. All of the artists participating in the program either live in Dedham or nearby towns.

The Five-Year-Old adores this project and takes her role as Caterpickles’ official chronicler of what she calls The Bunny Kerfluffle very seriously (I think she thinks “kerfluffle” is a fancy word for “festival”). Every morning she asks me to check the Dedham Shines website to see if another bunny has been installed yet. Even now, she’s sitting over my shoulder urging me to get to the pictures.

Mommyo: “But it’s important to tell people why we are posting all these bunny pictures.”

The Five-Year-Old: “No it’s not, Mommyo.”

So without further ado, The Five-Year-Old presents to you the first bunny: Spiral Bunny by Lisa Houck, now on view at the Dedham Community House.

(Image: The Five-Year-Old)

The other side.

(Photo: The Five-Year-Old)

And a close-up.

(Photo: The Five-Year-Old)

Tune in next week, when The Five-Year-Old visits the Bunny at Whole Foods.

Spiral Bunny (c) 2012 Lisa Houck

Did you know that I’ve got a book out about the 2012 Dedham Public Art Project?

My book, What’s That, Mom? provides 15 accessible, practical strategies for using public art to spark conversations with children between the ages of 3 and 10 — no artistic talent or insight required.

In addition to providing tips for viewing public art with kids ages 3-10, What’s That, Mom? offers much more detail on the 15 giant fiberglass rabbits included in the 2012 Dedham Public Art Project, including a complete set of (higher quality) photographs, influences on their various designs, and several interviews with the local artists who painted the bunnies.

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