In this collaborative project inspired by Laura Wennstrom’s Block City, we set out to create a set of toy blocks reflective of our church’s neighborhood home, Shelby Park. Through a multistep process of making the wood blocks and photographing the neighborhood to painting home details and collaging photos on the blocks, participants actively had a hand in visually representing their community. We hope Around the Block will be an opportunity for kids, as well as adults, to build the neighborhood and imagine how it could be through play.
Blocks cut by Jay Keywood. Photographs by Aiden Bean, Melissa Bean, Greg Gewin, Jordan Lienhoop, Leandro Lozada, Timothy Robertson, Michael Winters, Owen Winters, and Kelsey Wismer.
Step one of the project was creating the wooden blocks. Jay Keywood cut classic squares, rectangles, and cylinders out of found wood.
Jay also crafted unique shapes that are common in Shelby Park, like shotgun houses and camelbacks.
These blocks are ready to paint!
Part two was a neighborhood photo walk through Shelby Park. Before hitting the sidewalks, though, we looked at Laura Wennstrom’s Block City for inspiration and shared our goal for the project.
Tim photographs the alleyway behind his home in the neighborhood.
Melissa captures a Shelby Park Neighborhood detail.
We kicked off part three of the project at the reception and artist talk for the exhibit In Seeking Home by painting the blocks.
Participants were able to have a hand in visually representing their community, choosing a block shape and painting windows and doors, patterns and textures on it.
They could also add photographs from the neighborhood photo walk to their painted blocks.
Thank you to everyone who added to Around the Block!