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Flint toddlers turn discarded water bottles into art

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A pre-school art project in Flint is being praised by a world-renowned artist.

As an art project, the class at the U of M-Flint Early Childhood Center created a chandelier from thin strips from painted plastic water bottles.

The Center has plenty of water bottled because of Flint’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

The two-year olds in the class are among those most at risk by Flint’s tainted drinking water.

The art project is among many activities at the Center designed to stimulate the children’s minds. Researchers say that’s critical to offsetting the negative effects of exposure to lead from drinking water. The exposure can affect cognitive development.

Diana Hensley teaches the two-year-olds who created the water bottle art, patterned after the creations of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Hensley says Chihuly not only liked what the kids did, he's encouraging them to do more.

“[Chihuly] sent an art kit for every child and a T-shirt for every child,” says Hensley. “That was really thoughtful.”

The chandelier will be on display at Flint’s farmers market.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.