Changing Lives - Kinetic Sculptures

As I try to get caught up on this blog I realize why I was not able to keep it up to date at the time. In addition to after school STEAM Club and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters project we were also running this great project with some of the boys at Changing Lives Youth Services.  Changing Lives is  a group home in Cincinnati that we have worked with in the past but it had been a couple of years since we had been there and so it was a whole new group of boys.

in 2015 we were invited to be in the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day parade with a hacker group called Hive13.  The opening day parade in Cincinnati is an institution - going 97 years - winding through almost 2 miles downtown starting at the historic Findlay Market, it regularly draws over 250,000 people.  We had such a great experience being in the parade that we immediately thought we wanted to share the experience the following year with the boys at Changing Lives.

I applied to Artswave for funding for the project, started planning dates and times that would work for everyone's schedule, and submitted an application to be in the parade.  The parade is hosted by Findlay Market Merchants' Organization so entries must be about Cincinnati, the Reds, or Findlay Market.  We were on a bit of a tight schedule based so we only had one day for brainstorming ideas with the group.  In hindsight we should have had a project day first when we could have worked on something not too complicated that allowed us all to get to know each other a bit before introducing the large project and trying to generate ideas.  Free flowing idea generation happens best in situations of trust and we did not take the time we should have to create that trust environment before asking kids to throw out unusual and creative ideas.  We ended up coming up with a couple good project ideas regardless of this failing on our part and forged ahead with design strategies.

Our goal was to build two large rideable sculptures for the parade that could also then have a presence at the Oxford Kinetics Festival.  We had two Worksman industrial bikes to use as the basis for the builds.  Worksman makes heavy-duty tricycles and four-wheeled bikes for use in industry (hauling heavy equipment in factories, etc.) and they are great for building.  In discussing what everyone liked best about Cincinnati and Findlay Market we ended up landing on Grippo's Bar-b-que potato chips and the dill pickles they sell at the market, so that is what we settled on.  We decided to start with the pickle and then move on to the bag of chips later.

We brought in a variety of materials and some small models of the tricycle to start working on some models to guide the big build.

Once we had a good model for the pickle bike we felt confident to acquire the materials we would need to execute the build which we would start the following week.