SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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18 DECEMBER 2018 SchoolArts H I G H S C H O O L A s an art teacher, I continually look for ways art can be used to enrich our experiences. Recently, this interest led me to research ways art can be used to improve our school community. I rec - ognized in our high school that many students are socially isolated, and I saw this gap as an opportunity to explore art as a form of social practice to engage students with their com - munity. To achieve this, I introduced a project in an afterschool program that focused on creating handmade items and giving them to people in our school community. This involved intervening in social spaces to create new connections with the potential for building a stronger community. The Project CommUnity began with only two volunteer students. I was worried the club wouldn't gain traction, but my concern quickly faded as eight stu- dents showed up the following week and fifteen the week after. Students were eager to make art and excited to give their work away to others. Gift #1: Sculpted Roses For our first activity, we chose to make handmade ceramic roses. Stu- dents used hand-building techniques to sculpt roses from clay, which were then bisque-fired and painted the following week. The petals were pre- pared individually, rolled into a spiral form, and made to appear to bloom. Some students carved inspirational messages on the roses such as, "Never Give Up" and "Love Yourself." We applied stems made from plum tree trimmings that were inserted into a premade hole at the bottom of the bud. While we painted the roses with brightly colored acrylic paint, we discussed to whom the roses would be given. We decided we would each give three roses away: One would be given to someone we knew and two would THE COMM UNITY PROJECT Dan Andrews H I G H S C H O O L

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