Big Red Ball

Red Ball art and education installation to inspire South Devon in the lead up to the Olympics

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Big Red Ball

An artwork that has toured around the world will soon be taking a trip around the South West in a trial that will lead up to the 2012 Olympics.

The Dartington Hall Trust has teamed up with New York-based artist Kurt Perschke and professional coaches Neil Kirkby and Steve Williams to run a pilot interactive art and education project at Dartington Primary School this September. The pilot is the first stage of a two-tier project that will develop into a large-scale education and touring arts programme in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2012.

The pilot education aspect of the project saw Year 5 and 6 pupils at Dartington Primary School encouraged to discover their passions and interests, encouraged to identify and nurture aspirations and guided to create an action plan for achieving their dreams.

Each child was given a box as a visual aid for the process. The pupils were challenged to decorate the exterior of the box to representation their life experiences while filling the box with symbols to reflect their ambitions.

The idea takes inspiration from the popular trilogy of the Red Rubber Ball motivational publications by the social agent and speaker Kevin Carroll.

The public art aspect of the project will see Kurt Perschke’s 15ft diameter Red Ball art installation tour around South Devon and across the South West in 2012. Since 2001 the huge interactive ball has toured to cities around the globe, including Toronto, Sydney, Taipei and Barcelona. The artist is currently based at Dartington while making a series of site visits to possible locations across the South West. This will be the first time the ball will tour a whole region. Plans are afoot to take the Ball to Weymouth in the run-up to the Olympic Games, before leaving the South West for London.

Kurt told ArtsCulture: “People respond to the RedBall in different ways. All sorts of things happen, people want to take photos, they jump against it and so on. And then there’s another level to the project, which is about imagination. On the surface, the experience seems to be about the ball itself as an object, but the true power of the project is what it can create for those who experience it. It opens a doorway to imagine ‘What if?’.”

In the South West, the RedBall’s journey around the region will serve as a link between the schools taking part – an aim of the final project is to reach at least 50 schools in the South West. Much of the work with the schools will be documented and presented on the Dartington website as a resource to inspire other children from outside the immediate region and inform policy makers.

Kurt Perschke is an artist in sculpture, video, collage and public space who has exhibited work all around the world.

The innovative project follows on from last year’s TaskForce initiative, led by artist Stephan Koplowitz, which saw public contemporary dance performed in outdoor spaces throughout Plymouth.

• Read Helen Snell’s diary of being involved in the TaskForce Liquid Landscapes on ArtsCulture

Here’s Kurt Perschke talking about the Red Ball project

Find out more on Dartington’s RedBall page

(Image: Luminato © Sam Javanrou)



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