Committee for the Better Use of Air
To promote the first Great Boston Kite Festival and engage local children, the Committee for the Better Use of Air—a group of designer and artist friends that included Michael—held a series of three Saturday kite-making workshops at the Boston Parks Department Recreation Centers. Artist Darrah Bowden describes their approach:
“Clara and her collaborators worked hard to engage local schoolchildren in the weeks leading up to the festival. Michael Sand designed a special poster that they distributed to all the schools and community centers so local children from each neighborhood could customize them, with the winning design destined to be printed on a billboard. This prompted a gentle rejection, with regrets, from Director of Fine Arts at Boston Public Schools Elizabeth Gilligan, who was obliged to enforce the superintendent’s directive that solicitations could not be made to Boston Public School children to enter any kind of contest; nevertheless, she would cooperate with all other efforts to encourage the children and noted that the committee’s ‘public appeals are already stirring up considerable enthusiasm among the children.’ The Committee for the Better Use of Air arranged for architects from Boston and the surrounding communities to lead kite-making workshops for children at fifteen Parks facilities over three consecutive weekends.”
The images here capture these workshops, as children work with everyday materials to produce the flying objects they’ll let loose in Boston’s Franklin Park on May 17, 1969.
Special thanks to artist Darrah Bowden for her research, enabling us to identify many of the GBKF-related images in the collection.