The Web of Life
All knowlegde, life forms and creativity are connected. The web of life was an interdisciplinary arts and curriculum project carried out by artists Laurie Marshall and Sharon Wyrrick in Rappahannock County Public School Systems in collaboration with teachers, staff and students. The residency was funded by The Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Rappahannock County School System and members of the community.
The WEB OF LIFE mural was researched and painted under the guidance of Ms. Marshall by two hundred 5th, 6th, and 7th grade science students. Inspired by Dr. David Snyder at Fauquier Hospital, VA, who said, "When people don't feel like they are a part of the Web of Life, they are more likely to destroy it," the painting involved young people in learning about the Web of Life through a creative, collaborative and hands-on process. The mural includes the galaxy, where the earth's Web is; an invisble web of the microscopic, the prehistoric, the extinct, the imaginative and the spiritual; a visible web of life forms that are tied to each other; and a border of the students' ancestors, without whom they wouldn't be here. It has travelled to private schools, public schools, a prison, and a hospital.
At Rappahannock County High School, the WEB OF LIFE residency took the form of artisic projects and workshops in thirteen different subject areas involving two hundred and fifty students under the guidance of Ms. Wyrrick. Some projects involved several different classes working together to create finished products. the students experienced the Web of Life in the importance of their individual role to the whole. Much of the artwork was made from cast off materials-a way of recycling something beautiful and alive from what often is considered used up and useless. The teenagers took information from the text book page and brought it to life in plays, writing, dancing, sculptures and maskmaking. As in the Web of Life, knowlegde and information found expression in a rich diversity of forms.
Poems from the Project: