SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

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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Page 15 of 62

M U S E U M M U S I N G S the portrayal of the many emotions connected to this tragedy. In the gal - lery, students had the opportunity to speak with Alberto about his artistic process and the purpose behind the materials he used. In my practice, I believe an opportunity for students to connect with working artists is extremely beneficial. It exposes them to different art careers, new art-mak - ing processes, and gives them a peek inside the personal journey of a work - ing artist. Thinking About Resilience While this was an intense exhibit for my students to experience, it cre - ated the opportunity for meaningful conversations about how we deal with loss, grief, and tragedy, and the importance of developing resilience throughout our lives, especially for my students who are or have been experiencing very troubling times. Resilience and the portrayal of emo - tions became the inspiration for our mask project. Back in the artroom, students reflected on what they saw in the exhibit and how it made them feel, and I asked them to recall a time in their lives when they had experienced similar emotions. I felt it was impor - tant to stress the idea that tragedies do not define communities or the indi - vidual; rather, it is how we persevere in the aftermath that makes us strong. Making the Masks After these discussions, we con- sidered how resilience could be expressed in art. Students began to envision their emotions into visual expressions. Many students chose an emotion that was in reaction to a specific event such as Hurricane Harvey, political issues, personal struggles, immigration, and the like. We talked about the idea of revealing and concealing and that what we feel is not always what we portray to the outside world. I also introduced color theory, form, and purposeful use of materials to support the portrayal of emotions. Using their own faces as the form, students used plaster strips to build their masks, working in teams of two to three. This process built upon peer relationships and the trust they had for their classmates, and reinforced a supportive and safe environment. Painting One hundred-plus masks later, the artworks were ready to paint. Stu - dents experimented with different color mixing techniques, textures, and gradients. If students felt their masks were complete at this point, I challenged them to add a 3D element. Students who chose emotions such D eveloping a sense of commu- nity in our classroom is a very important aspect of each les- son we do at Bruce Guadalupe Middle School. With each project, stu- dents work together to problem solve, express their thoughts and ideas, and push their creative boundaries. It's important to me to create a safe space for students where they are free to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions about current issues. The Masks of Villalobos The inspiration for this project came from a local ceramicist's work. We began with a visit to our school's art gallery, Latino Arts, to see Alberto Villalobos's Hombres de Arcilla (Men of Clay), a collection of masks made in response to the tragic loss of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico. Alberto was struck by the loss of so many young lives, but he was also inspired by the resilience of the community. Each of Villalobos's ceramic masks takes on its own identity through Masks of Resilience Katie Hobday Connecting materials to a human emotion helped students understand that man artists use specific materials with a purpose. CONTINUED ON PAGE 50. Vanessa. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 11

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