Energy org brings Green Dollhouse Challenge to New York State
Submitted by Shawn Reeves
ITHACA, NY — Children, artists, and designers gathered to exhibit their unique creations exploring sustainability and play, winning several awards in an architecture and crafts challenge Saturday, June 29. Held at The Sustainability Center in Ithaca, this Green Dollhouse Challenge was a pilot to bring to New York State an event that has seen success in inspiring families, educators, designers, and the general public in Massachusetts for two years.
"Our organization has tried to create a unique design-challenge, both in that it is non-competitive and in that we require entries to be playable, playful," noted Shawn Reeves, director of the event and president of EnergyTeachers.org, the Massachusetts nonprofit that is expanding into New York. Being non-competitive, jurors awarded entries based on achieving standards in any of several categories. Exhibits included a living playground with real grass and herbs, wooden and wire swings and other playground accoutrements; a floating house so as not to cut down trees to make a clearing for a house, complete with a beach with real live bugs; a visionary crafts-store with a sculpture in the middle; and an architecture model of a library turned into a word-game with letter-tiles.
Two jurors from architecture and design fields awarded several prizes to the exhibits, including commendations in categories such as landscape, local resources, playability, re-use, simple living, aesthetics, craft, retrofits, day-lighting, and design process. Mr. Reeves pointed out that "since the challenge is non-competitive, it's a safe place to get people of all ages and abilities displaying their creations."
While participants only came from Tompkins County this year, the organization plans to have a bigger event with participation from a broader area of the state next year, building on positive lessons learned concerning workshops, posters, announcements, and aid to youth and civic groups. Interested groups, hobbyists, educators, and families are invited to learn more at EnergyTeachers.org: