"Look at her beak! And the sounds she makes with it. I've never seen such a large beak or such crazy sounds. What should I name this crazy bird?

I'll call her Miss Kitty."

- New Harmony High group writing workshop

Photo by Elaina Carter

With each layer, the boat moved from family and friends, out into the wider New Orleans community, before luckily finding its way to New Harmony High School. This new, environmentally-focused school gave the boat a home, and the boat gave the school the challenge of collaboratively completing a fully-functional paper canoe.

The boat lived on stage for the entirety of New Harmony's founding 2018-2019 school year. Throughout the year, students helped create the final three layers of the boat. We did writing and mini boat-building workshops. Groups of students applied hundreds of strips of paper to the various layers. And finally, in March, we took a two-night arts retreat in the Manchac Marshes with nine students. We wrote stories about our experiences in those wetlands, made linoleum carvings, took a photography workshop, tried to keep bugs out of hair, and watched the Louisiana Irises in full bloom. We then made a zine with that art. We coated the boat with a new layer and applied their art to the boat. In May of 2019 the new layer was exhibited and celebrated at The Aquarium Gallery for the St. Claude Second Saturday art walk.

The boat is theirs. Students will be able to access the water and paddle in the bayou in a boat they built. 

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© a paper boat project. new orleans, louisiana, 2019

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