Read about William S. Pickell, landscaper and a former graphic artist.
Children in Melbourne, Florida, learn to create masks and other art with discarded palm tree husks, thanks to William Pickell
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work
did/do you do?
Using the dry husks that fall off Florida's palm trees. The children can then carve and decorate these environmental remnants into beautiful masks. Some are wearable and others are for wall hanging. The kids enjoy using woodshop tools and glue guns for their projects.
What is the name and location of the organization?
William: Brevard Cultural Alliance, 2725 Judge Jamieson Way B/1, Viera, Florida, 32940.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
William: Children in undeveloped cultural communities and project housing communities.
What inspired you to get involved?
William: The universal art form of making something, using natural environmental materials. This large piece of fiber that falls from a tree has the contours of a face and head.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
William: As a landscaper and a former graphic artist in the military. The idea came from cleaning these palm trees and realizing the potential use for the husk.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
William: The broad range and interest that kids had in making something that had fallen from a tree and transforming it into art.
What is/was the hardest part?
William: Keeping the children from painting themselves and using tools they were not familiar with.
What was the biggest surprise?
William: How the youngest children were creating objects other than the mask idea. They were creating fish shapes and celestial objects; tweety birds were very popular.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
William: That anything in its natural state can be transformed into a workable art form media.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
William: Have lots of material and glue so the kids can decorate their projects until the cows come home.
Brevard Cultural Alliance
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