LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

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Junk Art #2 - The 'Why' Of It

Bob Gervais
Posted 04.21.07

LONDON, ONTARIO: Why would a for-profit company want to get involved in an extensive art project like Welded Wonders?

"We're proud of the business that we're in and what we contribute to the economy," Matt Zubick told me as we slogged around the property. "We also feel that we have a responsibility to try, somehow, to put something back into the community that supports us."

"And just look at how creative these students are…a Great White complete with teeth - all from scrap metal! Wow!"

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When I asked George Zubick, Matt's father, about what the project costs the firm, he waved the question away with a gesture.

"I suppose we could figure it out but suppose it's between $50,000 and $100,000. That's not what it's about…what makes it all worthwhile is the look on the faces of the students as people and as artists, after the judging. They have been recognized for what and who they are; they are no longer simply number, or streams of ciphers in the educational mill. They are real."

When I asked Tony and Paul, the Fanshawe College representatives, how they felt about the project and the level of commitment they had from Zubick, the answers came very quickly.

"The response and level of support that the folks at Zubick have provided is beyond my wildest dreams," Tony said. "And please quote me on that! Unbelievable support all through the piece."

Paul's comments were almost an echo.

"I can't think of any way in which the Zubick folks could have provided better or more timely support. The way in which they have thought things through and provided materials, a safe environment and an opportunity to be creative is phenomenal."

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About 75 percent of the students in the class are women. Not what you might have thought when considering creative welding, is it? Here's what some of them have to say about the junk art project:

"It's really different getting out of the classroom to do this."

"I sure wouldn't mind if it was warmer while we worked out here."

"Everybody here is so helpful and friendly."

The creative assignment in 2006 was to develop dancers (see lead photograph).

These works are on the site but have yet to be judged. To their credit, the folks at Zubick have agreed that a separate judging will be held on April 26, 2007, for the works created by the 2006 class and the 2007 class with a $1000.00 prize being awarded to the piece judged best in each year. The prizes are shared among the members of the winning team.

Members of the 2007 class were challenged to create thematic creatures and they have risen to the challenge.

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Paul Dreossi, the leader, welder, and teacher of these project teams, sums up the project nicely.

"The students come into the classroom and, through initial sketches, develop a sense of planning and preparation. At some point, the learning environment moves out of the classroom - kind of the way we learn about life lessons."

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"Then, in a period of 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the weather, the students learn a bunch of ancillary skills - welding, the characteristics of different materials, metalworking and -- oh yes! - patience."

And what would he like to see in the future?

"I'd like to see the project continue to evolve with some of the winning pieces perhaps distributed around the city."

[Great idea.Anyone listening in City Hall in London, Ontario?]

But how about Matt Zubick, the guy who started all this; what would he like to see come out of this?

"My dream scenario," says Matt," is to have a black tie judging and auction of the pieces of creative art right here in the yard," he declares, pointing meaningfully down to the mire around his hard-toed boots.

To Part 1
To Part 3



Copyright © 2007 Robert Gervais/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.07