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Director of Continuing Studies Creates “Birds of a Feather”

Posted September 15, 2010 in ArtPrize

It seems only natural that Director of Continuing Studies Brenda Sipe would find a way to involve children in her 2010 ArtPrize entry.

"Birds of a Feather" will be a large woven cage, made from willow vines, supporting nearly 200 colorful clay birds created by children. "It was easy to find children," she said. "Actually I already have more birds than I wanted."

Sipe shows each child how to form a bird from aluminum foil (to make each structure lighter) and then cover it with clay. She works with a lesson plan developed for her by colleague Kristen Morrison, who is a member of Kendallâ??s Art Education program.

The lesson is based on Maya Angelou's poem, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." The hundreds of birds represent "inclusiveness" on several levels, (physical, mental, racial, societal), according to Sipe.

Sipe has a degree in painting from Grand Valley State University and an M.F.A. from Michigan State University. Her work has been part of numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the Midwest. In 1996, she traveled to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where her paintings and sculptures were installed in a group exhibition at Academia de'Arte.

The "Birds of a Feather" entry will be located outdoors, next to the river at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.