Game squares take form on Lincoln school grounds

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- With television, computer games and videos abundant children have less incentive to play physically active games.

Artist volunteers, Albany Museum of Art staff and parents at Lincoln Elementary School took time Saturday to sketch the beginning of an outdoor recreation area to promote children's physical activity.

"This collaborative project is a wonderful way to promote art education, creative play and physical fitness," said Nick Nelson, executive director of Albany Museum of Art. "In this age of struggling to keep young people active, this outdoor recreation area will be a big benefit for students."

Stretching a blue chalk line across the tan concrete, Nelson said that there would be squares for fun games, chalk art and (don't tell the children) exercise in the area.

The plans include a hopscotch game designed by Nelson to take place on an artist's palette, an African dance area, a giant map of the United States, a maze, a life-size "chutes and ladders" game and areas for children to create sidewalk chalk art.

Artist and volunteer Deja David, home from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, said she found out about the project at the United Way.

"I went there and asked to volunteer for something in the arts," David said. "This is a perfect fit. I'm designing the African dance square."

The project also fits in with First Lady Michelle Obama's "let's Move" challenge to end childhood obesity, said Wilena Clark, parent of Aiyla, a student at Lincoln.

"Physical education is no longer mandated by the state," Clark said. "This will encourage children to be active and socialize through games."

Volunteer Tom Brandon shot video of the project taking shape. He said he hoped to edit it and send it to the White House.

Participants wanted to thank Lowe's and Home Depot for donating materials and the Kiwanis Club for a generous donation.

The work on the soon-to-be-brightly-colored recreation space will continue next Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m. Volunteers plan to paint and decorate the spaces then.