This summer while other students her age were swimming, biking and spending time with friends, 13-year-old Barbara Reliford was working.
She poured concrete, cut and glazed clay and cleaned up a construction site. All in the name of art.
Barbara was one of 13 student artists chosen to work on ``Out Standing Clay'' a collaborative sculpture project among Edgewood Homes, Lawrence Housing Authority, DCCCA, Lawrence Arts Commission, Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department and Van Go Mobile Arts Inc.
``My teacher suggested that I do it, and I thought it was fun,'' Barbara said. ``After you do it, you get to look at the art. Knowing I did it makes me proud.''
The three-part, free-standing sculpture was dedicated at ceremonies Tuesday at the Edgewood Homes Community Building, 1600 Haskell.
The project took eight weeks and the help of two professional artists, Dan Hermreck and Steve Smith, to complete.
``This is about more than just art,'' Smith said. ``Some of them (students) were really creative, and for some it's about dealing with each other and working as teams. It's about communication.''
Smith said the students, as with other Van Go projects, played a key role in the design and implementation of the finished sculpture.
The project is the second at Edgewood and may not be the last.
Van Go executive director Lynne Green said the project fit perfectly with the agency's mission of serving underprivileged youths in an artistic setting.
``Typically, public art is not put in public housing areas,'' she said. ``Typically, public housing is not chosen for aesthetic pieces. We feel like the residents here deserve that.''
Green said the students who work on the summer sculptures learn more than art terminology and how to use their hands.
``It's their way to give back to the community,'' she said. ``They don't take anything home from this. It's a permanent structure and will be here forever.''
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.