Sounding Sackville

Sackville Soundscapes by students at Salem Elementary School

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A vertical banner attached to a telephone pole is viewed from below. The banner shows an image of colourful shapes including circles, zigzags and swirls against a white background with the word "Sackville" printed across the bottom.

Sounding Sackville was the result of a collaboration between the Owens Art Gallery and Salem Elementary School in partnership with the Town of Sackville.

Bold and colourful, the Sounding Sackville banners give shape to the soundscape of Sackville. Created by grade three and four students at Salem Elementary School, the banners translate the sounds of Sackville into something we can see.

Students explored how sound can be described visually first by drawing to music and discussing the shapes and colours that various sounds evoked. Students then turned their attention to the sounds around them.

The focus on sound seems fitting in Sackville, a place at the edge of the Tantramar Marshes. The Tantramar taking its name from the Acadian “Tintamarre” referring to the incredible din of the birds that gather in the area each spring.

The project took place over five sessions with close to 150 grade three and four students from Salem taking part in an introductory visit to the Owens. A core group of fourteen students were selected by teachers to continue with the banner-making portion of the project. Working in groups, students used their sound drawings to collaboratively create the banner artworks.

A brochure that details the project and includes illustrated “keys” to the sounds represented in the banners is freely available at locations throughout Sackville.

Sounding Sackville took place in May 2009 and was designed by Lucy MacDonald, Curator of Education and Community Outreach at the Owens Art Gallery.