Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A length of blue cloth or a large roll of mural paper, and a means to attach it to a wall and/or work tables
- Drawing supplies such as oil pastels; color markers; paints, paintbrushes and cups of water (and newspapers or drop cloth)
- Plain drawing paper, scissors (including left-handed scissors) and glue sticks and tape
- Optional: Additional arts and crafts materials such as rolls of blue crepe paper, pieces of blue art paper and magazines to cut up for pictures of human and other animal river life
- Optional: Music and music player
Preparation for Activity
- Identify where you can work on and display a mural for the duration of the Gather the Spirit program. Purchase a long swath of blue cloth or a large roll of mural paper. Plan to make the mural as long as the work and display space accommodate. If no wall space is available, plan to roll the mural up and store it between workshops.
- Attach the cloth or paper securely to work tables or wall.
- Have art supplies out and ready for use.
- Optional: Choose music to play while participants work on the River Scene. The Before You Start section of the program Introduction offers suggestions.
Description of Activity
Participants begin a mural of a River Scene for ongoing work and display throughout Gather the Spirit. Today's goal is to place the river on the wall and engage participants to add drawings of human life and activities that might be found at a river.
Tell the group:
People often live near rivers. Let's imagine our river scene shows a popular river with lots of activity in and around it, some activity from people and some from nature. What could we show in our river scene? Today, let's concentrate on how people use a river; we will add animals and other things as Gather the Spirit goes along.
If feasible, have participants draw directly on the mural. Ask them to leave plenty of space between drawings so more images can be interspersed in later workshops. You can also give participants plain paper to draw on and scissors, tape and glue sticks so they can attach their drawings to the River Scene. If the group is large and the mural small, invite participants to work in pairs to avoid filling the mural too quickly.
Tell participants they have about ten minutes to draw, so images should be simple. With about five minutes left, invite participants to finish their drawings, clean up and re-gather as a group.
Use these questions to engage the group with "big question" ideas about the themes of stewardship, community and water. Tailor the questions to the ages represented in the group:
- How do tiny drops become a mighty river?
- How are people similar to water drops? What happens when one or more people gather?
- Would you want to live all alone, like a single drop?
- Why do people always seem to gather together? Are you stronger in a group than you are alone?
- How is water connected to the web of life?
- Why was life created the way it was? What does it mean that we need water and food and clothes and other things just to stay alive?
- What will happen if we and other people fail to take care of Earth's waters?
Invite the group to consider the River Scene they have begun together. Ask what else belongs there. Affirm that participants can add to the River Scene next time they meet.
Including All Participants
Provide a variety of work spaces so that people with varied abilities can work easily and comfortably. If standing and attaching their work to the river scene is challenging for some, let them work with partners who can help display their creations.
Not everyone is comfortable making drawings. You can suggest some participants cut out magazine pictures to attach to the mural or enhance the river with blue paper or crepe paper. Avoid extravagant praise as well as critiques of participant contributions-affirm all who help shape the River Scene.