In this era of extreme polarity of class and caste and the constant struggle to find help for those less fortunate, what seems to get lost in the conversation is the need to exercise compassion for your fellow man. That's why I was so impressed when my kids took part in this massive district wide project and subsequent art installation, stimulating their young minds and asking them why compassion is an integral part of being a whole man. If you missed the installation in the spring or 2011, you owe it to yourself to visit the virtual version.
“The Appleton Compassion Project” was a community art project involving 10,436 Appleton Area School District K-12 art students. In Fall 2010, participating students received a 6-inch-by-6-inch art panel to draw or paint their idea of compassion. Art teachers from every class in every district school then asked students to create a work of art that depicted their idea of compassion. In the spring of 2011, the tiles were collected and assembled for display at the Trout Museum of Art in downtown Appleton. The installation was supported by an incredibly well built virtual installation, still live, that allowed parents to look up their student and find their work of art in the gallery.
A spin-off of Appleton's Compassion Project, this series of custom manhole covers for College Avenue sidewalks is the brainchild of Rob Neilson, Federick R. Layton Professor of Art, Lawrence University. As a side project, Neilson was approached by Tim Riley of the Trout Museum of Art to see if his sculpture students wished to participate. A public art specialist, Neilson decided to challenge his advanced sculpture class, asking them to create their own personal definition of compassion... in the medium of a utilitarian manhole cover. Students carved their work in foam "blanks" provided by Neenah Foundry who then set the students pieces in a larger manhole form and molded the covers in cast iron.
This Wherigo cartridge will take you an a walking tour through downtown Appleton and a bit beyond to see the 12 Compassion Manholes, now part of Appleton's permanent urban landscape. Cartridge on Wherigo is compiled for Smartphone, in case that doesn't work for you, here are cartridges for PocketPC and Garmin users.