from Jack Rabbit Speaks (BmanUpdate:V7:#26:05.02.03, May 2, 2003)

Annique, a grade school art teacher in Gent, Belgium, wanted her students to work on a year-long art study of Aztec culture. She searched the internet for "Aztec" and found our website which contained photos of our 2001 theme camp - Azteca. She wrote to tell us that what we had done on the playa was quite similar to what she had in mind for her students' project. She asked us how we brought the project to fruition, what techniques and materials we had used, etc. We started a frequent dialogue with her and assisted her class in creating a remarkable outdoor art project - sort of the European Sister City to Black Rock City's Azteca theme camp.

Recently she sent us a DVD with footage of the finished project - a huge outdoor plaza circled by 'stone' columns made from cardboard boxes. A local Philips Television plant had donated the boxes onto which the kids had painted portraits of Aztec gods. This is the same technique we'd used to create our Aztec pyramid located at the Keyhole in 2001. In addition, they created a huge, hand-painted calendar stone modeled on the one we created for Azteca in 2001, and which resurfaced as the ground cover of the Center Café in 2002. A group of Belgian school kids had modeled an ambitious art project on our theme camp - how cool is THAT!? So many heady concepts come to mind: the global village, the power of the web, the rewards we reap by creating art in a gift economy... YUM!!!

As cool as that story is, it doesn't end there. This year Annique asked if she and the kids could be part of our 2003 project instead of working on a separate, simultaneous project in Belgium. Of course our response was a resounding 'Heck YEAH!'

Our theme camp in 2003 will be Bollywood. Annique and her team came up with the idea of creating 'Saris for World Peace' - silk saris that are both art pieces and outfits. Someone donated to Annique's school dozens of yards of silk, which became seven saris. The kids will dye each sari a different color - the colors of the seven chakras. The art will be different on each sari. One possible concept is for each sari to honor a different individual known for advancing world peace (think Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.).

Annique stays in constant contact with our 'American' Bollywood team via our Yahoo Group, asking opinions, bouncing ideas off of us, and keeping us posted on their progress.

This year, Team Bollywood will be bringing to the playa not only our own, California-grown theme camp, but also a gift to all Black Rock residents from some incredibly dedicated, talented, hip and generous kids from Belgium. Once again I ask you - how cool is THAT!!?

Jack Rabbit Speaks editor, Andie Grace: "Man...makes you want to go to school in Belgium, huh?