“This is the first year I am attempting this with my school and the students are being chosen via a lottery system for behavior in class. Our first meeting was to brainstorm and the students are excited. One student said he would be allowed to stay after school for a project like this. They seem very excited and have been asking me questions, coming up with ideas, and want to know when we will begin in earnest!
“On another matter with the Doodad, our students are bringing in life science, math, and engineering as well as art. We were looking at books with moving parts and they are fascinated by it and are trying to figure out how to make there sculpture ‘hands on’ with real life lessons and still relate it to the animal from literature theme from a rainforest book. It is exciting for me as a teacher to see the wheels turning as they are thinking it through.” Lori Erskine-Dodds, Art Instructor, Cahoon ES Magnet School of Animal Science, Gifted Talent Development Academy
Last year my IB student, Andrea Sziksay, won the “Best Overall” out of High Schools when she transformed three cigar Boxes into a depiction of the Holocaust. it was a powerful sculpture, one where she used her artist’s eye and creativity, along with a personally relevant concept to educate and impact viewers in meaningful ways.
This year many more students are using saws, drills, and nails (to name a few materials and tools) to create amazing sculptures. The kids are thrilled to receive the beautiful boxes and I am thankful, as a teacher, to have this project to engage my students.” Mary Wilson, Visual Arts Teacher, Robinson High School
“When given the opportunity to participate in the Doodad competition, I knew it was an opportunity that my kids deserved to have. These kids, at an ERT school, that were expected to sit still and read and write so much of their day, barely could contain the excitement they had to come to my art room the mere 30 minutes a week (25 minutes on Mondays) that they time allowed. The art room for them was a place to escape, to have a release, and most of all a place to be loved unconditionally. The extra time that the Doodad competition created after school extended that love. Kids were taking their lunch time to come to the art room to work on their piece. They would work extra hard in their classrooms to earn time to come to the art room to work on their piece. They collaborated, they imagined, the giggled and they felt successful. It was magic to watch.
“When our sculpture won an award, we were over the moon excited for our kids. For our kids awards and success are not always easy to come by. Parents, some who were never seen at school, were getting involved with their success. They sent their children to the award ceremony wearing the best clothes they could afford for their children. The pride was evident. As for those kids (almost 30), many of which had never seen the skyscrapers in downtown Tampa, minutes away from their home, were exposed to the city for the first time as our administrators, volunteer teachers and myself took them all to the ceremony. The ooh’s and ahh’s that came from the children that had never stepped foot out of their neighborhood were beautiful to hear. It added another layer to the truth that those kids live every day, and a life many of us take for granted.
“For me, and my kids, Doodad was more than a sculpture competition. It was more than a challenge. It was more than the materials that it took and it was more than just the work we put in. It was success. It was success for me, a first year art teacher who felt like she was failing forward one step at a time. It was success for my kids who got the chance to be on TV, visit the city and win an award when compared to other kids their age. It was success for a community that was not accustomed to feeling it. Doodad was something that myself, and those children, will never forget.
“I cannot thank you all enough for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful experience.” Lindsay Valentine, Art Teacher, Lamb Elementary
“Lilly came up with the idea for the cigar truck as a fifthgrader at Seffner Elementary. Personally, I saw the whole experience as a wonderful view into the life of an artist. Artist need to often work within the confines of a particular inspiration, follow a deadline and provide significant effort to complete a project. They also need to transport their work and compete against other artists to win honors and possibly get paid! This competition provided an opportunity to experience each of those steps, which was a remarkable achievement for my fifth grader. Thanks for the opportunity” Denise Verrill, parent
“I get to show them how to use things that we don’t normally use in the classroom. Once I teach them a strategy or a building technique they are off and running on their own. The pleasure of watching them work together as a team to construct something with newly acquired skills is a true joy. I have actually videotaped several of my Art Club sessions this school year simply because the kids are so amazing to watch in action.
“But the fun doesn’t end with building the sculpture. My students love going to the Tampa Bay History Center to see the exhibit. They find just as much joy in building the sculpture as they do in appreciating what other students have built. They get inspired by seeing such great ideas, and like any true artist, they can’t wait to make more art. I am gifted with all kinds of creations following the Doodad competition. Students suddenly begin to find art in the most unusual of places and love bringing what they have made to school to share with me and the other students.
“This competition offers students an unlimited opportunity to be creative and successful which gives them so much pride. It doesn’t matter if you win an award because the process is the prize.” Adrienne VanderPloeg, Art Teacher, DeSoto Elementary
Last year, a team of three high school students, a shop teacher, and an art specialist, went on a grand explore of Hillsborough County landmarks, learning about our particular “melting pot” and recording the journey with photographs. These were presented on a cigar box sculpture-in-the-round, including Ybor City, Lake Park (and a wild alligator!), USF, Sulphur Springs, the Buccaneers, Gasparilla, UT (at night, as viewed from Curtis Hixon Park), Lowry Park Zoo, and, of course, CIGARS! Our students explored history, learned about our town, and became shutterbugs all in the span of seven hours!
While we did not win this time, we felt our sculpture provided more information about our area, and was as visually interesting, if much smaller, than the winner!-) In other words, both years, our students compared their efforts to those of other “regular” students, and came away feeling very proud and effective as artists, storytellers, and craftsmen. I highly recommend the process for this competition.” Susan Anderson, Art Teacher, Dorothy Thomas Exceptional Center
“The second year, in conjunction with a high school shop class, we created a ten-cigar box sculpture that revealed many of the special features of our home county. We took a seven-hour tour, from Lettuce Lake Park (and a wild alligator photo!) to the Bayshore and the Gasparilla Ship with the lit city skyline and colorful bridges in the background. We visited Ybor City with the train station, saw a cigar being rolled, the water tower of Sulphur Springs, and USF. The 3 students took pictures of the Buccaneers’ administrative office’s fabulous football entry and flag, the University of Tampa, and oranges piled high in a fruit stand. Two of our students also created personal memory boxes with the cigar box format. It was a delight they still remember, and a marathon!
“We look forward to this year, and the chance to share our art outside of the ESE arena. Thank you for the opportunity!” Susan Anderson, Dorothy Thomas Special Day School