Ritme van het Zwaanshals
An art-project for children in collaboration with Ivo van den Baar/Wandschappen
At Het Klooster Oude Noorden / Rotterdam
April - July 2003
The artists were invited to conceive an art project for children from 5 - 12 years at this (mainly Moroccan) youth and cultural center. For three months, they worked every Wednesday afternoon together with the children. Their concept concentrated on the existing open courtyard, the central point of this former cloister. At the time the artists first visited the cloister, the courtyard was not a desirable place and not in use by the children. The artists wanted to add this external garden to the existing architecture and create an additional space for the summer months.
The core piece of the project was to transform a garden house used as storage space into a dream house especially made for the children in close collaboration with them. This environment should act for these children - who often live more or less in the streets - as an escape from their everyday reality, a place to dream, fantasize, rest, play or simply sleep. The exterior design was conceived as well as executed by the children. The artists tried to encourage and channel the diverse ideas of the children and fit them into their dream house concept. There was a strawberry field planted, a garden bench made and other diverse seating elements produced and painted. In addition, a huge wooden puzzle covered with paper collages was created which filled the inside walls of the little house. Every child who participated in the process also produced his or her own flag which they could hang on the outside of Dream House as a sign to the other kids who is currently using the house.
The success of the project was shown by how the children have taken ownership as well as responsibility for this newly created space.