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Prospect Archive of Children's Work


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  • featured collection
  • featured collection
  • featured collection
  • featured collection

About (Gus') Collection

(Gus’) original collection in the Archive spans 8 years, 1972-1980, ages 5 years and 4 months to 13 years and 4 months. The full collection contains 870 items, which are reproduced on microfiche in the Reference Edition. Houses and dwellings are prominent in (Gus’) work, often elaborated with strong color applied in contiguous blocks or patterns of stripes or grids, with variations in chimneys and other elements that indicate the form is a structure for variation. Ghosts, monsters, robots, and vehicles appear in his work, although with inattention or ambiguity as to setting or narrative. He experiments with ways of using visual media to represent invisible forces in physics and spirit. In pictures and stories, sports and popular culture are a motif. In stories, as well as in visual work, there can be a shift from the particular and present, to a more ambiguous space/time. An implied largeness is worked, as it were meditatively, through ordered repetition and variation of color or elements. Number, pattern, and color are important and serve as means of relationship, though relationship may also be conveyed by, for example, a tree leaning into another. The largeness and general absence of story or continuous action evoke a sense of archetypal forms or ideas and of incipience, beginning, or promise. Non-figurative work is particularly abundant at ages 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13. The quantity of visual work falls off in the last two years of the collection, but suggests involvement with large ideas of space, time, and spirit. His production of writing increases somewhat. In writing and in visual works, he explores themes of world citizenry and personal self-determination. His writing style remains lean, spare.

Extended Image Selection

This set of 248 color reproductions represents all the color images made of (Gus’) work for the Reference Edition. The selection results from the work of a participant in the Archive Scholars/Fellows project of 1983-85 or of comparable study in later institutes. The participants—generally educators—each went through each item in the child’s collection, organized and numbered it chronologically, and, together with others similarly engaged, used Prospect’s Descriptive Processes to make additional collaborative inquiries into the work and the common and divergent threads between the children. The selection of color images for the Reference Edition was made on the basis of this study, to represent characteristic and exceptional themes, motifs, stylistic tendencies, and choices of media, through the duration of the collection.

Concise Image Selection

This sub-set of 60 images was selected based on notes of study of the collection from 2000-2003. It is in certain respects lacking in representation of the full collection. The selection was also somewhat influenced by the quality of reproduction in digital form. Prospect participants have found that 60 images are sufficient, and manageable, for a group of teachers to begin to see how a body of work by a child, created spontaneously and collected over a period of years, reveals persisting patterns of thematic interest and stylistic characteristics and reflects back on how the child thinks and what might support his or her learning. It is Prospect’s hope that this selection will be used by educators for this purpose.

Selected Writings

Selected Writings are transcriptions of a child’s writing. They were made by various people working with the file, at different times, generally in preparation for a workshop or institute at which the child’s work was to be studied. Other than the use of pseudonyms and the removal of other identifying elements, no consistent guidelines for handling spelling, punctuation, or other idiosyncrasies were applied.


The catalogues are year-by-year summaries of (Gus’) original collection preceded by an overall summary, all prepared by Archive Scholars/Fellows working with the original material.

Narrative Records

The records consist of Prospect School teachers’ weekly notes and semi-annual reports to parents about (Gus), plus, as available, notes of Descriptive Reviews about him and his work (see the Methodology and Resources pages).