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A mural project that uses math to connect Brooklyn students to the community with a visualization of Pi and an exploration of sound !! Read more

Brooklyn, NY Public Art
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This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2014.

A mural project that uses math to connect Brooklyn students to the community with a visualization of Pi and an exploration of sound !!

Brooklyn, NY Public Art
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About this project

FOLLOW US @VISUALIZE PI

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Artist Ellie Balk and The Green School's Assistant Principal Nathan Affield are at it again, using mathematics to connect high school students to the community by painting large-scale murals in East Williamsburg.

Back in 2011, Ellie and Nate worked with two statistics classes who surveyed the student body to create a histogram that runs the length of the school, aggregating the emotional path of a student's day.

Histogram of Emotions
Histogram of Emotions

In 2012, students explored climate change through visualized data of weather patterns dating back from 1930 to a projection of the future. This mural is located on Moore Street near Graham Ave in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For this project we partnered with Borinquen Plaza Senior Center where seniors and students worked together in implementing the project.

Weather Mural (photo Erica Kermani)
Weather Mural (photo Erica Kermani)

Last year, with the help of Kickstarterstudents constructed an image of the golden spiral based on the Fibonacci Sequence and began to explore the relationship between the golden ratio and Pi. The number Pi was represented in a color-coded graph within the golden spiral. In this, the numbers are seen as color blocks that vary in size proportionately within the shrinking space of the spiral, allowing us to visualize the shape of Pi and its negative space to look for "patterns".  The students soon realized that the irrational number of Pi created no patterns at all, resulting in a space that resembles “noise”.

Visualize Pi
Visualize Pi

This year, with your help, we want to visualize the number Pi in a reflective line graph that will resemble a sound wave. The colors of the mural will change at each prime number in Pi so that we can visualize a pattern of prime. Located on a busy corner in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the sounds of the bustling traffic and rhythmic commuter passing creates the perfect backdrop for our visualization. To take this next level, we want to collaborate with musicians and sound artists to “read” the visualization to then create actual noise. So not only would we be able to SEE the number Pi, we will be able to HEAR the number Pi. 

Visualize Pi-Sound wave
Visualize Pi-Sound wave

We are excited that visual/sonic artist Bill Brovold will be contributing to the project by creating a musical interpretation of this visualization. Brovold is an established musician/composer, visual artist and art educator. He has composed music for film, dance and performance pieces. He was the leader of the Detroit experimental group Larval and guitarist with Rhys Chatham's ensembles. His music has been released by John Zorn, The Knitting Factory and many other sources. Brovold is very passionate about working with young artists and community. He teaches courses in art and music and its relationship to math and will share his work with the students in workshops and classes. Their work will be showcased along with an original composition at the final community celebration/party.

What math will the students will be learning?

High school Math standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues, preparing the students to think and reason mathematically. Outside the classroom and into the community we can focus on this goal in a direct approach. The move towards the Common Core Standards pushes educators to create curriculum achieving depth instead of breadth. By focusing on the single, transcendental concept of pi across courses, the mathematics department plans to not only deepen student understanding of shape and irrational number, but more importantly, connect these foundational mental schema for students while dealing with the concrete issues of neighborhood beautification and how proportion can inform aesthetic which can in turn improve quality of life.

The project will focus on topics that build a deeper understanding of the irrational number and transcendental mathematical concept of Pi. Pi is used throughout the high school curriculum from discovering the relationship between circumference and diameter in Algebra, using the unit circle to find trigonometric ratios in Algebra 2, analyzing ellipses key to understanding planetary motion in Earth Science and proving shapes congruent in Geometry – all skills necessary in preparation for Regents Exams. Pi is a concept all math and science classes use throughout the school year.

This project is directly in line with national Common Core Math standards:
A.N.1 Properties of real numbers,
A.S.5 Constructing and reading frequency histograms,
A.A.42 Using trigonometric ratios,
A.G.1 Finding area and volume of composite shapes,
A.G.2 Finding volume and surface area of prisms,
G.G.17 Constructing congruent shapes,
G.G.71 Equations of circles,
G.G.54 Rotations,
G.G.27 Circle proofs,
A2.A.60 Unit circle,
A2.A.56 Determining trigonometric functions,
A2.A.61 Finding arc length. 

Art skills: color theory, color mixing and large-scale detail painting combining mathematical skill and artistic knowledge to up-scale and measure. Direct contact with the outside community will raise awareness of the power of art to illuminate, inform and influence opinion. (VA, b.m. 1)

Here is what you are investing in: 

  • Student ownership and commitment to beautification of their neighborhood
  • One-on-one time for the artists and students
  • Collaboration and recordings with Sound Artists and Musicians
  • Purchase of professional art supplies 
  • spectacular community par-tay and ribbon cutting

Additional funding beyond our goal will take this to the next level!  Here's what we will do:

  • Pay musicians!  With help, we will be able to HEAR Pi in a whole new way !  With additional funding we hope to collaborate with more musicians...Wouldn't it be cool to HEAR how a pianist, opera singer and violinist interpret the Pi sound wave??  We think so and so do they!  
  • For The Green School math teachers, we will provide a Professional Development opportunity where we will introduce hands-on activities to share ideas on how to use art and visualizations to help teach students to understand complicated math problems.
  • We would love to partner with a film artists to help capture the project with professional documentation. This documentation will enhance our reach and help send out our message of working with students and communities to make curriculum integrated pubic art. 
  • Additional funding will provide the opportunity for Ellie Balk and Nathan Affield to attend a math conference and share our work with a larger community to teach and inspire educators on how to creatively integrate art into their math curricula. 
  • We have been working closely with the local business improvement districts which are looking for more beautification opportunities.  With the great need for art in this district, additional funding has the power to transform this neighborhood with even more public art.

More about Ellie and Nate:

Last year we were honored by Mark Hurst to speak at the 2013 Gel Conference.  Gel(Good Experience Live) is a conference focused on experience in all its forms -- business, art, society, technology, and life. 

This year, we have been honored with a Walenta Family Foundation Grant which has allowed us to hire four teaching artists to come to The Green School to work with the students in creating arts integrated, public art/beautification projects.  

We also received a grant for this beautification project from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts administered by Brooklyn Arts Council

By the way...this isn't the first time Ellie has explored ideas of data visualization through SOUND WAVES...in 2011, she worked with 9 NYC pianists, drawing the distance between their hands as they played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.  These drawings were layered together to create a 130' musical landscape. 

Ellie working on Soundwaves ! (photo Michael Toolan)
Ellie working on Soundwaves ! (photo Michael Toolan)

REWARDS!!

Digital High Five !
Digital High Five !

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and TUMBLER

GREETING CARDS AND POSTCARDS !
GREETING CARDS AND POSTCARDS !
CASES !
CASES !
COASTERS !
COASTERS !
GEOGRAPHICAL MAP PAINTINGS !
GEOGRAPHICAL MAP PAINTINGS !
VISUALIZE Pi POSTER/PRINT IMAGE
VISUALIZE Pi POSTER/PRINT IMAGE
NEW PAINTING FROM THE STUDIO
NEW PAINTING FROM THE STUDIO
                                     
ANOTHER NEW PAINTING FROM THE STUDIO !
ANOTHER NEW PAINTING FROM THE STUDIO !

  FOLLOW US @VISUALIZE PI

INSTAGRAM
TUMBLR
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

BIG THANK YOU to ERICA KERMANI for the direction and editing of the VIDEO for this Kickstarter ! <3

Risks and challenges

Besides possible weather challenges, there aren't really any risks for completing the project. We have the wall, the community and school support and the KIDS are READY to start painting! All we need to do is meet our funding goal! So that means if we get it, it's done...COLOR AND MATH AND SMILES!! If we don't meet our goal, it's all sad faces and blank walls...

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956.........

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    22 backers

    Digital HIGH FIVE! Pledge at any level and we'll invite you to follow along as we bring this mural to life through our project updates, an invite to participate in the making of our mural AND join us for our ribbon cutting community party!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    27 backers

    THANK YOU! We will send you a postcard of the Visualize Pi Sound Wave mural with a personalized THANK YOU note from the students working on the project!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    8 backers

    Packet of Postcards! Everything above and a package of five colorful postcards of other math murals by Ellie!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    25 backers Limited (75 left of 100)

    A limited edition, 5x7 print of the mural design printed on archival paper, signed and numbered by Ellie...and a personal thank you postcard from the students!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    13 backers

    Downloadable composition composed by Sound Artist Bill Brovold, the thank you postcard and your choice of either the packet of Postcards or the 5x7 print
    For $5 more we will send you a CD!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    5 backers

    Set of five high-quality greeting cards with envelopes, the post card thank you, and the digital download from Bill Brovold!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    2 backers

    30 min conversation with Ellie and a downloadable curriculum guide to do your own math based mural project with your community! You will also receive a personal thank you from the students, postcards and tunes!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    1 backer

    TOTE! Custom printed canvas tote! Lots of images to choose from! We will also send you postcards, tunes and thank you's!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $70 or more

    2 backers

    CUSTOM CASE! Check out the 5 designs to choose from...black or white and we can make a custom case for most any smartphone or itouch! $10 more and it can be an ipad case! We will also send you some postcards, thank you's and tunes!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    1 backer

    Set of FIVE coasters custom made of high-grade plastic and a non-skid cork backing! Each coaster is 4"x4". Included: Postcards, thank you's and tunes!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    7 backers Limited (93 left of 100)

    Visualize Pi Noise Poster! Limited Edition. 11" x 17" Printed on Premium Archival Paper and signed by Ellie...also postcards, thank you's and tunes!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    7 backers Limited (18 left of 25)

    HAND COLORED SCREEN PRINT! Limited edition hand colored screen print of the Pi drawing for the mural! Printed especially for you, hand colored and signed by Ellie. Print Size: 11" x 30" (valued at $400) Plus postcards, thank you's and tunes!

    Estimated delivery:
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  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    SUPER SWAG ! Listed on the wall as a generous supporter, invited to the party, postcards, phone call, mural guide...the tote, the case the coasters and the 11x17 poster!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    You will be listed as a generous supporter and honored on the wall! You will also receive a 8x10 framed painting made by the artist that maps out your own personal geographical history. Check out examples over there <

    also thank you's and tunes!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    You will be listed as a generous supporter and honored on the wall! You will get the experience of a personalize mural tour by Ellie! Spend the day with Ellie Balk as she takes you around in style to her murals in Brooklyn. Dinner and drinks and PIE included!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Commissioned Painting ! Super supporter! You will receive a large commissioned original painting by Ellie just for you! Also, your name will be painted on the mural wall and we would like to honor you at the ceremony.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Commissioned MURAL ! WOW! Thank you Thank YOU for this amazingly generous pledge. Ellie will design and paint a mural for your school, building or house! Limited to 400 sq. ft in size. New York area only...unless you can pay for shipping and handling ;) Also, your name will be painted on the mural wall and we would like to honor you at the ceremony.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (21 days)