SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2013

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 30 of 53

Early Childhood Studio Lesson ed mu ral The fi n ish ted on a is pain wal l prominent ia ng the med faci center. A Ribbon of Friendship A World of Friends Craig Hinshaw S even colorful, life-size silhouettes of students skip, jump, and cartwheel across a thirtyfoot long wall, intertwined with a painted red ribbon. The ribbon is painted with words supporting diversity—identity, cultures, togetherness, etc. A green and blue Earth is painted along the bottom. After September 11, 2001, Hiller Elementary in Madison Heights, Michigan, began receiving a large influx of refugee children from wartorn Iraq. These children, many of whom have experienced things no child (or adult) should, added to Hiller's already ethnically diverse student body. Jen Cuminsky, Hiller's 28 February 2013 SchoolArts principal, asked if I could initiate a mural project on a thirty-foot wall in the school that might help unify the students and staff. A Mural with a Message In my twenty-five years of teaching, I have made numerous ceramic murals, but never a painted one. I began looking at historical precedents that could help me get a handle on how to begin. Keith Haring's murals depicting colorful, simplified figures were a good match. The images and messages in Haring's work was something elementary students could easily consider and discuss. I wanted our mural to carry two messages. One was the joyful exuber- ance displayed by elementary students. It is not unusual to see students walking hand-in-hand, skipping, or even walking backwards through the hallways. Sadly, they will grow out of this stage by the time they move on to middle school. The second message was that we all have the same needs and desires. Yes, we have different customs, different skin tones, and different religions, but we are one school, one world. Creating Silhouettes To begin, students lay on sheets of butcher paper taped together to make a canvas large enough to create expressive silhouettes. We traced around

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