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'Fly Together' origami art exhibit comes to Plum Creek Nature Center

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Hundreds of butterflies will descend on Plum Creek Nature Center Aug. 2 as the “Fly Together” art exhibit lands at the visitor center. 

The exhibit consists of 650 origami butterflies folded by third through fifth graders at Chelsea Intermediate School in Frankfort. The paper used for the butterflies came from 83 books that were destined for the recycle bin at Frankfort Public Library. 

“Fly Together” will be on display through Oct. 2 and available for viewing during visitor center hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays and closed Mondays. In addition to the exhibit, there will be a craft station for visitors to make their own butterfly from recycled pages.

The exhibit was produced and assembled by Frankfort Arts Association board member Jaime Maisuria. In addition to Chelsea School students and staff, Maisuria collaborated with Frankfort Public Library, Friends of the Library and the Village of Frankfort, where the exhibit was previously on display.

“I named the exhibit ‘Fly Together’ because it represented a community coming together,” Maisuria said. “The butterflies were made at the school thanks to the help of the art teacher Megan Maney. She and I collaborated so that the students could work on the butterflies at school during the school day.”

Teachers received a detailed instructional video to show the students how to fold the butterflies. Maisuria then gathered the artwork and assembled five display panels showing the butterflies flying together.

Some of the fourth grade students who worked on the project gave their thoughts on what it was like to participate:

  • “I liked that we used recycled materials to turn trash into treasure.” – Mila A.
  • “I really liked that we used old books to make the butterflies.” – Ethan M.
  • “I liked working on the butterflies to see what they would become as a big art piece." – Sophia M.
  • "I liked how the individual butterfly became a group of butterflies in a rainbow." – Luke T.

Maisuria, who worked as a behavioral therapist and behavioral consultant before starting her art business, PaperLine, in 2012, said the exhibit merges her love of working with recycled and upcycled materials and bringing community members together. 

“It focuses on the importance of creativity, working with what you have, recycling and reusing materials when you can, and what can be created when people work together,” she added. “The (finished product) demonstrates the strength and beauty of small individuals coming together to move forward in a common direction.”

A nature-themed exhibit made out of recycled paper is a great fit for Plum Creek Nature Center, said Jessica Prince, the nature center's facility supervisor.

“The Forest Preserve is excited to exhibit 'Fly Together,'" she said. "The piece is a great collaboration because it checks multiple boxes on what the District values, including connection to community and to Will County schools; the use of recycled materials; and support of the visual arts, nature and pollinators. As a bonus, the exhibit will be an added feature to Hummingbird Fest, which is scheduled for Aug. 20."

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