What Would Your World Be Like in the Absence of Sound?

“What would your world be like in the absence of sound? That was James Castle’s world.” That was the question that the students explored with the help of Cort Conley, Director of Literature for the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and Troy Passy, a well-known Boise artist who currently has an exhibit at the Boise Art Museum. Cort first visited Grade 4 to discuss the life of James Castle, an “outsider” artist who once lived and created art in Garden Valley, and later, Boise, Idaho. A few days later, Troy shared a slideshow of Castle’s work, along with a handful of pieces he was inspired to create in Castle fashion.

To help the students relate to James Castle’s world, Troy and Cort passed out earplugs and had the students draw their own rendition of a Castle image, in total silence. After 15 minutes of silence, the students began building their own constructions using the recycled materials they had brought in. Partway through the activity, our Grade 4 class was joined by the Grade 2 buddies, and together they created their own Castle-inspired constructions. Troy and Cort repeated the lesson with the other 4th grade class in the afternoon.

You’re welcome to view their finished constructions and charcoal work, which is out in the hall by our 4th grade classrooms. What a delight it was to hear Emory G.’s exclamation at the end of the lesson, “James Castle is my favorite artist, now!”

Thanks to Cort Conley and Troy Passy for sharing their expertise with our students and thanks to Ms. Fitzharris for the great photos!

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