Monday, July 7, 2014

Easy & inexpensive projects that bring art to the streets: Cardboard tube maracas

To promote my private art classes, I set out to bring art to the streets during my town's weekly summer street fair.  In Westmont, IL.  every Thursday night from June thru August, our main drag shuts down and it becomes the Street Fair!  It's  combination car night, market, & activities.  It's a lot of fun, and you are sure to see the entire neighborhood, as well as over 100 classic cars.

I already worked closely with the Westmont Special Events Corporation, and I knew there was a need for more kids' activities.  Our wonderful library hosts a craft, but it is usually kits from Oriental Trading and doesn't require many higher order thinking skills, or creativity for that matter.  I set out to do something different.

Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing the projects we made on the street and how I prepared for them.

For all of my projects, the first thing I did was to start saving everything.  I made this poster:

and shared it with many friends and family.  My basement is overflowing with usable recyclables.  It was already overflowing with art supplies.  Seriously, I walked down there one time and thought "I have so many art supplies, I could open my own school...." and so, that's what I am going to do.

Toilet Paper Tube Maracas:  Our first street fair experience.

I admit - it was a little rough.  I wanted to do something musical to cross promote my husband's music store.  He would be having an event on that Saturday for Make Music Day - and I thought the combo would be perfect.  But, it was rainy, there was a lot of stuff to schlep, and this project was a little difficult.

I was inspired by this photo, and did a few test runs of the project myself.  I wanted the kids to cover the end of the tube, fill it with rice, cover the other end, wrap it, and decorate it with papers & Sharpie markers.  What I learned was ain't nobody got time for that.  The kids were fine.  They wanted to trace and cut circles and listen to directions, but my co-teacher and I had a table full of kids and were getting stressed out trying to help each one at different steps, with different supplies, and different abilities.  Yes, all the kids come at once.  When we had a lull, we started to just make the basic maraca so that the kids only had to decorate it.  This worked well.  We would spend 20 minutes making 10 maracas, and they would be gone in five.  It was truly rewarding to have a table full of kids cutting, glueing, taping, and drawing in the middle of the street in summer.

Toilet paper cardboard tubes
masking tape (regular & colored)
rice (I got a 25lb. bag at Costco for about $10)
construction paper (it was pre-cut to fit around the tube)
circles to trace for the ends of the tube
decorations, Sharpies, small construction paper, duck tape

I also had business cards, Summer & Fall class schedules, an email sign up, & a raffle at our booth too. 

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