Community Cubed: A Public Art Project Captures Big Ideas

For more than a week in October, a 12-foot-tall cube became a community canvas. Art classes painted on the walls. Middle Schoolers contributed squares for a mosaic. Faculty, parents, and visitors wrote their wishes on multicolored tags, which hung from the structure and fluttered in the breeze.

Creativity, meaning, purpose, and community found expression here. Then the cube was gone. The point was not about permanence, but the experience of sharing and connecting with others.

Conceived by Scott Cohen, the Life Cube Project started at the Burning Man arts festival in Nevada in 2011. Cohen believed that by expressing hopes and dreams, one could make them happen. At Burning Man, the Life Cube actually went up in flames, giving powerful symbolism to the process.

Cohen then took the Life Cube Project to downtown Las Vegas, where community groups and schools participated in wish-thinking, goal-setting, and creative expression. Local television news covered the Life Cube’s fiery culmination.

At Riverdale, the Life Cube Project tied into the Middle School’s Community Day. This year’s theme was “Moving Beyond Borders,” and Cohen encouraged the students to think about how their aspirations might become part of something larger than themselves. Riverdale never planned to burn its Life Cube — fire regulations would not permit it — and so the project came to an end on a quiet Sunday. What remained was the Riverdale community, that much stronger.

Does your school do something similar?

Add a comment