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A project to engage school children with art and the Arctic, in order to connect them directly with issues relating to climate change.
A project to engage school children with art and the Arctic, in order to connect them directly with issues relating to climate change.
59 backers pledged $7,780 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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I am an artist located in Marin County, California. I am thrilled to be invited to join The Arctic Circle expedition this Fall and journey on a traditionally rigged tall-ship with a small group of international artists, scientists and educators on a collaborative mission into the High Arctic while pursuing my own work. This all takes place in Svalbard, a mountainous Arctic archipelago just 10 degrees from the North Pole. I plan to take hundreds, maybe thousands, of yarn pom-poms created by children and myself to become part of my artwork to create a piece that addresses climate change. I have already been working with classrooms and we have made over 700 pom-poms already! The final work created from this project will be a series of photographs and I also plan to experiment with video. Additionally, I'll be taking photographs as inspiration for paintings that I will produce back in my studio.

To learn more about my artwork please visit www.deborahhamon.com.
To find out more about the project keep reading below and visit www.thepolarpompomproject.com. To find out more about this expedition please visit www.thearcticcircle.org.

© Barbara Putnam, 2012 -- We'll be on this ship exploring remote Arctic locations!
© Barbara Putnam, 2012 -- We'll be on this ship exploring remote Arctic locations!

Read more about The Polar Pom-Pom Project by Deborah Hamon:

Children are central to my artwork. When I found out that I had been invited to participate in The Arctic Circle expedition, I experienced excited enthusiasm, some apprehension (polar bears! seasickness!), and then I realized this was a unique opportunity to not only create my own personal work, but to also find a way to connect kids with the Arctic and issues relating to climate change.

Showing kids some examples of my artwork before talking about The Polar Pom-Pom Project.
Showing kids some examples of my artwork before talking about The Polar Pom-Pom Project.

Why pom-poms? Pom-pom making has been a part of childhood art and craft activities forever. I remember making pom-poms as a kid. My daughter loves making pom-poms, and while I was thinking about the Arctic and snow and ice, a white palm-sized pom-pom she had made reminded me of a snowball, and that is how The Polar Pom-Pom Project began.

Art is a great way to engage kids. How many kids have the opportunity to create something that will journey to the top of the world and become part of a larger artwork?! Kids receive an official Polar Pom-Pom Project participant certificate – great to share and display, and encourage kids to talk to other kids about the project and the Arctic. I will also document the project on my website, so kids will be able to read about my Arctic journey, and also see the final artwork created with the pom-poms that they helped make. I also hope to return to schools to talk about my journey and present the artwork that was created.

Making pom-poms!
Making pom-poms!

I am working with elementary school classrooms and hope to engage a diverse spectrum of children from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to participate. Additionally, individual children from across the globe are invited to participate in my project.

Thank you for your interest in my project. The Polar Pom-Pom Project needs your support!

Traveling to the top of the world on this unique expedition is a costly endeavor. I will be gone for 3 weeks and while The Arctic Circle program subsidizes 50% of the cost of the program, I am required to fund the other $5800. Your donation will go directly to this cost. Additionally, I need to pay for airfare to Svalbard --around $1800. I will also have round trip pom-pom shipping expenses, hotel costs for Oslo connections, clothing suitable for Arctic exploration, and camera equipment. Eco-friendly yarn has been generously donated by the companies listed here.

In return for your financial support I am offering some great rewards!
I am extremely grateful for whatever amount you can contribute. Every pledge counts -- I will only get funded if I reach the full goal. This means I must raise the full $5800 to receive any money. However, Kickstarter allows you to exceed the goal, which would help cover some of the additional costs. In the right column you will find pledge amounts at every level and the fabulous rewards you will receive in return! Below is my photograph Adrift shot in Iceland mentioned in the $100 pledge level. Thank you so much for your support.

Adrift, © Deborah Hamon, 2011
Adrift, © Deborah Hamon, 2011

You can also help in other ways:
• Help spread the word about The Polar Pom-Pom Project and this Kickstarter campaign
• Help connect me with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms
• Have your child participate in the project. Download PDF instructions by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/P8mP8mP

Thank you for supporting the arts, fostering arts in education, and helping preserve the Arctic!

Risks and challenges

Missing pom-poms? I plan to ship them far enough in advance that hopefully if there was an unlikely mishap with the courier there would be plenty of time to locate them. Additionally, an extra suitcase with hundreds of pom-poms will travel with me as safety guard. That could be an interesting conversation with Customs officials!

Polar bear attack? While on shore, I will be with an armed guide at all times (it is required by law.) In classrooms, I reassure kids that we don't go ashore if we see a polar bear. If we are hiking and see fresh bear prints, we retreat. If we were to see a bear and it became interested in us or the pom-poms we would attempt to scare it off with noises and flares. Kids always have lots of questions about the polar bears!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Get a personal thank you email to let you know how much I truly appreciate your support!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Special Edition thank you postcard mailed after my journey with a pom-pom image photographed in the Arctic. One person, randomly selected, will receive an 8 x 10 inch signed limited edition archival photograph of the image.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms that has traveled to the Arctic and back. This pom-pom will have traveled to within 600 miles of the North pole!! Included will be a small official certificate (you can include it in a frame.) It will become a great conversation piece and also a nice reminder to help the environment --
    put it in a box frame, put it in your kids room, hang it on your holiday tree!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Receive a small (8 x 10 inch or smaller) surprise original artwork inspired by this expedition -- this could be a signed limited edition archival photograph, a drawing, a painting, a collage, a notebook sketch, or anything really. Everyone loves a surprise!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms (described above in the $25 reward) + a signed limited edition 8 x 10 inch archival photograph of a Polar Pom-Pom image shot in the Arctic. One person, randomly selected, will receive #3/10 of my photograph "Adrift" shot in Iceland. This 20 x 30 inch photograph is framed with a gorgeous contemporary face mount frame and is ready to hang!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms (described above in the $25 reward) + a small original painting of your child (girl or boy, any age) or favorite pet from a selection of photographs you provide. Painting will be acrylic on panel in the 8 x 10 inch size range and will primarily feature a head/shoulders portrait with minimal background. Add $100 ea to include siblings in the painting.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms (described above in the $25 reward) + an original acrylic on canvas or panel painting inspired by this expedition. Size will be approximately 16 x 20 inches.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms (described above in the $25 reward) + Your child* -- girl or boy, age 5-15 years -- will be featured in one of the photographs I create from this project and you will receive an unframed signed limited edition photograph. (Size TBD, but estimate in the 20 x 30 inch range.)
    *Travel related expenses for me to photograph your child are additional if you are not located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Receive one of The Polar Pom-Pom Project’s pom-poms (described above in the $25 reward) + Your child* -- girl or boy, age 5-15 years -- will be featured in an original acrylic on canvas painting I create from this project and you will receive the finished painting. (Size TBD, but estimate in the 24 x 30 inch range) *I can work from photographs that I shoot of your child in the San Francisco Bay Area or work from photographs that you provide with my guidance, so you don’t have to be located locally.

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Funding period

- (30 days)