A year or so ago I came across this video of a nine-year-old boy named Caine Monroy who built a cardboard arcade. A filmmaker shot a short documentary about Caine's creation. You can read all about it and Caine's journey since he became a YouTube sensation here. His arcade sparked a nonprofit called the Imagination Foundation and worldwide cardboard frenzy. In October of last year, IF hosted the third annual Cardboard Challenge where over 125,000 people from forty-six countries came together to play with cardboard. IF imagines a planet " . . . where all children are taught to be creative thinkers and doers, and encouraged to make their very best ideas happen in the world."
The Cardboard Challenge attracts younger children. But that shouldn't stop teens from taking it on. When I was in college, I chose cardboard for a project and serious artists are doing amazing things with the medium. Check out these sculptures by artist Chris Gilmour.
The thing I like most about IF's project is that it encourages collaboration between generations and people with various talents. And it's fun. The fourth challenge officially kicks off in September, 2015, but why wait? Gather friends and neighbors of all types and ages. Get parents, mentors or teachers involved (you'll need a sponsor and gathering site). Brainstorm ideas, draw up plans, and wow us with your cardboard creations. You can even use the event to raise money for IF's scholarship fund if you want, and there's a contest for best video. Here's a link to FAQs about joining the challenge.
So teen artists, why not cardboard? It definitely made a difference in Caine's life.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. And creatures, always creatures. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor