Students at Waimea Canyon become living art installation

WAIMEA — Over 300 students at Waimea Canyon Middle School huddled under the sun on their hands and knees, listening to director Daniel Dancer for the next cue.

Some were confused, asking “What are we doing?” and “Why do I have to be on my knees, this hurts?” but to Dancer, that was the whole point of his “Art for the Sky” design.

“On the ground, you can’t really tell what it is. It’s only from the sky that you can really understand what is actually happening,” Dancer told The Garden Island.

A living art installation, the students and faculty who participated in Monday’s Art for the Sky sat in the shape of a shell in the grassy quad area on campus.

The shell design was illustrated by Jordan Simao, a student at Waimea Canyon. And only from a bird’s eye view would it be possible to see the outline and makeup of the design and colors.

“We don’t do anything for the sky except pollute it, so this is something we do to change our relationship with it,” Dancer said.

The project was also a lesson to see the big picture in life.

“Our way of seeing the world is obsolete. It’s getting us into all kinds of problems,” Dancer said.

Dancer, who did an Art for the Sky design at Eleele Elementary last week, said this was the first time that he had ever done a shell in all the years he’s been doing this project, which has spanned 42 states and seven different countries.

“It’s about awakening that part of our brain so that we can see the big picture, to make decisions through the eyes of everything. It’s all about the power of collaboration,” Dancer said.

Two project managers from Kodani and Associates Engineers, LLC, Royce Kawabata and Tyler Navarro, took pictures and videos using drones from 400 hundred feet in the sky.

Waimea Canyon art teacher Matthew Snowden not only helped organize the event but was a part of the installation.

“It was like being in a sea of people,” Snowden said.

Lisa Mireles, school renewal specialist with the Department of Education, said art in schools creates experiences so students learn to think outside the box. Mireles saw Eleele’s art installation during the weekend on Twitter, which struck a chord with her.

“It was so moving it made me cry,” she said. “So I had to be here for this one.”


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