This year's Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition's Teen Project is not your typical art class event. Students at four Bellevue schools and Ground Zero Teen Center created more than 200 small-scale sculptures to function as both public art and "travel bugs" in the increasingly popular hobby of geocaching.
Each biennium the City of Bellevue presents a show of contemporary sculpture by professional artists from across the U.S. and Canada. A popular feature of the Exhibition is the Teen Project.
This year the project involves geocaching, a worldwide treasure hunt in which players use online clues and GPS coordinates to find hidden "caches." When players find a cache, they record their find, stories, pictures and other information online, bridging the real and virtual worlds.
A cache may contain a log book, small object that the finder might trade for another object or a travel bug. A travel bug is a mobile, trackable object with a destination or route set by its originator. Geocachers help a travel bug reach its goal by moving it from one cache to another, (hopefully) closer to its destination.
Teens from International Middle School, Bellevue, Newport and Sammamish high schools and Ground Zero, managed by the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club, are participating. They made their travel bugs mostly out of recycled materials such as aluminum cans, surplus wire and found objects. The teen artists gave each bug a unique identity and travel goal.
All the bugs will return to City Hall, but each bug has its own unique route and destinations along the way. As the travel bugs arrive at City Hall during the Exhibition (running through Oct. 5), they'll go on display with the stories and photos geocachers logged online as they helped the bugs along their way. At the Exhibition's end, the travel bugs will either return to their creators or be re-launched on new journeys with new goals.
A public cache is live at Bellevue City Hall. Locate the cache and track the progress of this project at http://www.sculpturaltravelbugs.com/. Visit the Teen Project display on the second floor at City Hall.
The Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition is sponsored by the City of Bellevue under the guidance of the Bellevue Arts Commission. This year, 39 sculptures and installations from artists across the U.S. and Canada are on display at Bellevue City Hall and the Downtown Park.
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