The circus is in town
Lions and tigers and … preschoolers? Next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 9 a.m., The Colby School will perform its circus at Park City Racquet Club.
Students have been preparing for the event for six weeks in their physical education classes, and as well as designing and painting murals for the show for three weeks with Colby’s artist in residence, Paul Jakubowski.
This is the second time Jakubowski has worked at the school, the first being seven years ago to create murals for the Olympics.
"It’s a job I really like," Jakubowski said. "I get to use my talents as a painter and muralist, as well as my talents working with children."
Jakubowski is working with every grade level to create 10 large panels to go on display at the circus. He started out by giving classes on drawing, design and painting before the students started on the murals.
"He’s got a real curriculum in place," Lindsay Wellman, Colby’s art teacher, said, "and he works with them through several steps so they have the tools they need to work on the murals."
Wellman said she has learned a great deal from watching Jakubowski and hopes that she’ll be able to do a similar project in the future.
"It’s such a neat opportunity for the kids to get to paint something this large," she said.
It is Wellman’s philosophy that the more you use your whole body in the process which happens when you’re painting large the better the experience and the more the children get out of it.
"It’s good to see the kids so excited," Jakubowski said. "It’s probably partly because they’re young and partly because they get to work on something so big."
Rita Hale, whose son Zach is a seventh-grader at Colby, volunteers in the art department every Wednesday. She said it is just so interesting to see how Jakubowski can really get the kids to do things and motivates all the ages.
Hale said she is amazed by the amount of progress the students make in just one day. "It’s quite a process," she said.
The 10 panels were designed to imitate the kinds of activities the students have been learning in PE and will be performing in the circus, Wellman said.
"It’s great for the kids," she said. "Because not only do they get to take what they’ve created to the circus, but the panels also help to integrate school subjects, which is something Colby always strives to do."
On the acrobatic side of the circus, Anne Goldberg, Colby’s PE teacher, has been transforming Colby students into stilt walkers, hoola hoopers, plate spinners and more.
"All the performances are connected to the PE curriculum," she said. "They’re working on strength, balance and agility."
As some students prepare for the circus, balancing on balls, practicing acrobatics and bouncing on pogo sticks in the gym, others are depicting those actions in the art barn. "It’s like controlled chaos," Jakubowski said, which seems like a good way to describe Colby’s upcoming circus.
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