“Bead Town (See You In)” Now Available for Download on iTunes
“One of the best ways to excite students about art and recycling was to help make them part of a dynamic international effort”
Finnish DJ and producer Simon Templar has joined forces with New Orleans songstress Robin Barnes, Melissa Dickson from Indiana University, and an international group of visual and performing artists to create the song “Bead Town (See You In).” The song is now available for download on iTunes, along with a music video on YouTube.
While art education may be disappearing from the curricula of schools across the United States, innovative art lessons are alive and well in New Orleans; Gary, IN; and Helsinki, Finland. Students in the Gary Community School Corporation have been afforded the opportunity to participate in record-breaking art projects that apply innovative teaching methods, collaboration, intrinsic motivation, tolerance, and resourcefulness.
Every year, over 10,000 tons of Mardi Gras beads wind up in landfills. Bead Town is an interactive traveling art exhibit where volunteers and students from all backgrounds create artwork made mostly from these recycled beads. Stephan Wanger, the founder of Bead Town and executive director of the Bead Town initiative, has worked with over 1,000 Gary students and community members in the past year to create works of art from recycled materials.
“We felt that one of the best ways to excite students about art and recycling was to help make them part of a dynamic international effort,” he said. Thus, he reached out to DJ Simon Templar (Jussi Paasonen from Sipoo, Finland), a rising star in the global electronic music scene.
“When I saw all these students, parents, and communities working together, I was sold,” said Templar, who composed the score for the artwork titled “Life in the French Quarter,” the current Guinness World Record attempt for the largest bead mosaic. The piece is planned to be 96 feet in length by 8 feet in height and could become Bead Town’s fourth world record later in 2016 or in 2017. Wanger also recruited songstress Robin Barnes from New Orleans, as well as Melissa Dickson from Bloomington, IN to record the vocals for “Bead Town (See You In).” They lyrics were written by Wanger about “Life in the French Quarter.”
While the song was being created, Wanger also reached out to Indiana University Northwest graduate Ben Young, film director of Aspire Productions. The studio produced the music video for the song, filing the students while they created art. Young noted, “The arts were a vital part of my growth in school. Bead Town really works to re-engage the arts in children’s lives. At Aspire Productions, we wanted to give back to our community.”
“We had to get this right,” Wanger pointed out. “New Orleans is very proud of its many culinary and cultural delights.”
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