It may be the strangest summer program for kids and adults in Brooklyn — but it’s also the must fun.
A troupe of teaching artists quietly launched a month-long free education program called “School of the Future” at a forgotten Greenpoint playground, holding classes on any topic that could be dreamed up for anyone who shows up.
From Thursday through Sunday, artists Cassie Thornton and Christopher Kennedy and their friends took over Sgt. Dougherty Park, offering hour- to half-hour-long programs on topics so widely varied that they almost defy categorization.
Last week, a small group of Greenpointers learned how to make urban wind chimes using recycled metal and glass. Others took a bicycle tour of Newtown Creek, complete with descriptions of state and federal environmental cleanup sites. Another group learned how to draw world-famous dictators.
The classroom is a 3/4-acre windswept, forelorn asphalt playground, bounded by Anthony and Vandervoort streets and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. But the far-flung location has not stopped a steady trickle of eager and curious students to show up and see what the School of the Future is offering. The schedule of classes is posted on the School’s Web site, most of which were proposed in submissions over the past two months.
Teacher Lacey Tauber, who taught people how to make seed bombs for her Guerilla Gardening class, hopes that her students will toss the germ-filled pellets into vacant lots, beautifying their surroundings.
“It was fun!” said Tauber. “It was a lot of people I hadn’t met before. I like how the school brought a lot of people from the neighborhood to this underused park to think about their surroundings and environmental issues in North Brooklyn.”
The most intriguing offerings allow students to stretch imaginations and creativity with quirky titles such as Flying Saucer Technology: Past and Present, Radical Library Sciences, Mutant Student Groups Think Tank or Easy-to-Draw Dictators.
Many classes take the school’s neighborhood into its subject matter and some are improvised direct reactions to surroundings of the moment.
One class led by Thornton did both.
She designed her session, entitled “How to Get Lost,” to shake a demanding group filmmakers that sought to document the school nearly every day for the entire month.
Participants brought their bikes to the park at 10 pm and rode off into the night — only to be followed by the film crew. After a few blocks, the crew disappeared.
“They got lost,” said Thornton. “We didn’t. When we got back at 2 am, they were waiting for us.”
School of the Future (Anthony Street at Vandervoort Street in Greenpoint) through Aug 1. For info, visit www.schoolofthefuture.org.
©2010 Community News Group
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