Sculptures In Oak Park

William Beye Elementary School 230 North Cuyler Avenue Oak Park

Figures + Forms: Margot McMahon/Sculptures In Oak Park
Margot McMahon
Written By Margot McMahon

Margot McMahon's sculptures tell a story of how living beings are all connected through nature.

Peace, Hope, Wonder

Peace coincided with a bird study in the classroom. The second grade students ran a drive to remove violent toys from children’s hands and games. These colorful toys were wired to a steel form in the shape of a flying Dove of Peace. “Why does a bird made of guns and swords fly above us in the cafeteria?” ponders a student.

Hope was modeled in clay by William Beye School second grade students who were studying birds in class. They learned additive, subtractive and constructive sculpting processes and collaboration by sculpting a symbol for their school in the new millennium. A state bird, owl for education, and a symbol of what they might learn were concepts enveloped into the final symbol of a baby bird reaching for a worm. Brancusi’s bird sculptures were referenced in Margot’s design. 

Wonder emerged from the topic of Dr. Seuss stories. After learning sculpting by combining various animal parts, a student suggested we use animal’s shapes rather than parts. Wonder is described as a gazelle, dinosaur, dolphin or giant bird. We know it is of nature, we’re just not sure if it’s of land or sea. After sculpting in concrete in second grade, the same class revisited the sculpture in fifth grade to make a mosaic of their wonder. – Margot McMahon

Cuddling Intelligence 

Cuddling Intelligence was made by 170 seventh grade students of Percy Julian Middle School and visiting artist, Margot McMahon. After learning of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, students examined their talents and created symbols of their personal intelligence and potential adult contributions. Synthesizing those 170 symbols into one for each of the 11 intelligences, Margot taught students how to collaborate to make five-foot-round suspended soft sculptures for their school’s four-story atrium. Collaboration amongst young sculptors meant each student learned to sew by hand and machine until “Cuddly Intelligence” symbols were installed. Still children, these students enjoyed the teddy bear materials that softened the four-story atrium and their journey to becoming adults. Oak Park Education Foundation funded this project.

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Figures + Forms: Margot McMahon

Sculptures In Oak Park

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