doors. One side of the door illustrated the social issue chosen and
the other side depicted what the
student felt was a possible solution.
Students were encouraged to use
text, collage, photographs, found
objects, and cut-out
shapes to help illustrate their issues.
a response sheet
after they viewed
the exhibit. Students
were asked to write about the experience and different core classrooms
viewed and wrote about the project.
Katie McMullens, grade twelve.
Would students from
two very different
districts choose similar
social issues to depict?
Doors were cri-tiqued and surveys
were generated on
which door had
the most effective
door had the most
Education Association Convention
in Battle Creek, Michigan. Each
location had questionnaires available for feedback.
The use of actual
interior doors created a powerful
installation, however, mobility and storage issues
sometimes made the project difficult. Someone suggested that we
use smaller cabinet doors, but we
felt the project would not have been
as visually effective on a smaller
impact, and which social issue most
affected the school. After the data
was collected, discussions were held
in the classrooms in hopes that it
would generate more awareness of
social issues and a deeper understanding of how social issues affect
The commentary and written
statements from attendees validated
the work, artistic talent, and social
issues the students represented in
their artwork. Though most students took their projects home at
the end of the tour, a few of the
projects remain in the classrooms
as inspiration for other art students.
The joy of the experience outweighed the pain of the logistics of
In order for the doors to stand
upright, metal stands were made by
welding students at the local independent school district. They had to
be strong enough to hold the doors
straight without the possibility of
the doors falling.
The project was such a big hit that
we decided to take it on the road.
The doors traveled to Lake Michigan College, South Haven’s Blue
Star Theater, Covert Public Schools,
and the Newago Arts Council in
Fremont. We shared a slide presentation about the project at the
Michigan Art Education Association Convention in Sault Ste. Marie
and the whole project was installed
and presented at the Michigan Art
Lou Ann Vidmar is an art teacher at
Covert High School in Covert, Michigan.
When the doors were completed, an
installation of twenty-nine doors
(or fifty-eight individual paintings)
was held at Vicksburg High School.
At the opening reception, guests
and students were asked to fill out
Students initiate, define, and solve
challenging visual art problems
independently using intellectual
skills such as analysis, synthesis,