Through a grant from Arts Equity Reimagined fund, NN was able to work with consultants from the Playful Learning Action Network and the Temple Infant & Child Lab between 2021-2023 to learn about the science behind activating art to create playful learning exhibits within our urban community landscapes.
“Playful Learning Landscapes applies the science of how children learn to spark interactions with caregivers, other kids, and the environment to increase fundamental learning and skills. A landscape can be any place where a community gathers naturally. A landscape could be a bus stop in a neighborhood, an empty lot, or destinations such as a library, supermarket, hairdresser, or playground. Playful Learning Landscapes integrates playful learning into community spaces to transform social interactions and the physical architecture of the landscape with innovative design.” -Playful Learning Action Network
From 2021-2022, NN convened a working group of 7 artists from around the region to create designs from the values that grew out of the community.
During that time, NN held 2 community listening sessions to learn about what folks valued. Along with the artists, 90 participants of all ages attended these sessions and shared their thoughts through art, written and spoken word, and games. It was during these sessions that the locations for the installations were identified as the practice field at the high school, Second Ave Playground, and Neighborhood North. Additionally, 60 5th grade art students contributed drawings and text that share what they love most about Beaver Falls. These drawings were integrated into the design of one of the installations, creating one side of the Puzzle Wall at the high school.
Our working artist group designed 3 exhibits that reflected the values and goals that our community indicated were most important- sports, storytelling, collaboration, and learning.
By 2022, the designs were ready to be turned over to our fabricators to fashion our artists’ vision into concrete reality. After a year of production, our Playful Learning Landscapes were installed in September 2023 by 3 local installers! We think these exhibits may be only the beginning!!
What did it take to complete this project?:
- 7 regional artists
- 2 Playful Learning Consultants
- 90 participants at 2 community listening sessions
- 60 5th grade art student contributions
- 3 local fabricators and installers
- 1 year of listening and design work
- 1 year of fabrication
- 10 hours of installation
Thank you to our funders:
- Art Equity Reimagined Fund:
- New Sun Rising
- Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE)
- Our community for sharing your voices,
- time, opinions, and inspiring the design of the Beaver Falls PLLs!
- Thank you to our working artist group:
- Daniel Harper
- Rebekah Knab-Dinardo
- William Kofmehl
- Pamela Rossi-Keen
- Kristen Slebodnik
- Renne Suhr
- Rebecca Williams
- Our PLLAN Consultants:
- Sarah Lytle
- Rachael Todaro
- Thank you to our installers:
- Brown Dog Signs
- Helisek Construction
- Beaver Falls School District
- City of Beaver Falls
- Second Avenue Playground Committee