It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Guardian of the City!
A public art project in New York City calls on schoolchildren to design imaginary superheroes to "protect" their communities. The project was created as part of a thesis project by two MFA students, Liz Belfer and Lea Faminiano, at Parsons The New School for Design. Working under the group name Collective Peace, the women say "the goal of the project is to empower children to take ownership of their community and raise awareness for positive change."
All of the "Guardians," created through a series of interactive workshops, may be viewed on the project's website, www.GuardiansoftheCity.com.
The project was recently featured in The Atlantic Cities:
The kids, from elementary school through high school, have responded with some ingenious solutions to their city’s challenges.
The "Homeless Detective” has the ability to tell real homeless people from fake homeless people so you won’t “give money to liars.” The "Stareosaur" is a yellow dinosaur covered with eyes who rides the subway and allows you to stare at other riders “without feeling like a creeper.” A tough guy named "Mr. Macho" takes people’s cigarettes away and smokes them “to keep them healthy. He is macho so he doesn’t die from tar.” And "ADHD Girl" fights crime with ADHD powers and can deflect multiple bullets simultaneously. The creation, by a girl who has ADHD herself, was posted in the midst of Times Square’s chaotic distractions.
Belfer and Faminiano said they are hoping to partner with the Department of Parks and Recreation to install the project in playgrounds and parks. And they are also working to organize a "Superhero Training Camp" at an afterschool activities center.
The founders have already reached their goal of raising $1,000 on Kickstarter, but there are still a couple more days left in the crowdfunding campaign, for people still interested in backing the project. Funds will be used primarily for art supplies and installation materials.