In 2015-16 we received a Frederick L. Hipp grant from the NJ Education Association to create self-portraits using only legos. The students in our mulitply-diabled classroom were paired with school age peers to collaborate on the self-portraits. We titled the project "Brick by Brick; Building Blocks of Friendship". We went to the store to purchase the Legos, attended a field trip to see the work of brick artist Nathan Sawaya, and has a gallery exhibition of the work, complete with limo and a red carpet. The project was a lot of fun and a hughe success.
One Million Bones
Throughout the 2012-13 school year, the 6th-8th grade art students helped to create plaster sculptures of bones for the One Million Bones Project. The bones were created to represent the millions of victims from genocide all over the world, particularly in Africa. Our students created, packed, and shipped the bones to DC. The bones were displayed at the National Mall in June 2013. We traveled to DC on Monday, June 10th for the Act Against Atrocity Advocacy Day. We met with activists working with human rights issues related to Sudan and The Congo. Then our group met with staff from Senator Menendez's office. Senator Menendez is our senator from NJ and is also the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We presented a bone and asked Menendez to act on two issues: to call a committee hearing on Sudan, and to vote on legislation for conflict free cell phones. It was an amazing experience to see our artwork at the National Mall and to be activists for the day.
Relief for Hurricane Sandy
In 2012 our neighbors at the New Jersey shore were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Our school reponded with numerous fundraisers and food drives. The art department held two fundraisers. The high school students designed and sold "Restore the Shore" t-shirts. The middle school students created "Seashells for NJ Shores" pins for sale. Both efforts raised about $1,000 for the American Red Cross in Atlantic and Cape May counties in NJ.
In 2010-11, students created origami paper cranes to sell as a fundraiser. 100% of the profits benefitted the Red Cross in Japan to help the earthquake/tsunami victims. High school and middle school students created over 500 paper cranes in 10 days. The students sold the cranes at school and community events, raising over $500.
Pinwheels for Peace
Pinwheels for Peace were created as part of our middle school's "10 Days of Peace" activities. Students created pinwheels in art class, heard daily quotes of peace in morning announcements, researched peace quotes, discussed the UN and peace in social studies classes, and raised money for a paver at the Ground Zero Memorial. The 10 days of peace commemorated 9/11 through 9/21, the International Day of Peace. For more information go to: www.pinwheelsforpeace.org
Houses for Haiti Pins
During the 2009-10 school year, students created "Houses for Haiti" pins to sell as a fundraiser after the Haitian earthquake. The pins were made of brightly colored mat board and covered in acrylic gloss. We sold them at community and school events for $3.00 each. Our goal was to raise $2500, which is the cost to build one temporary house in Haiti. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity in Haiti.
The unsold pins were given to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Camden, NJ. Proceeds from the sale of those pins benefitted our neighbors in Camden. Total sales from those pins was well over $500.
"If I had super powers, I would have a force field"
Kindergarten Art Exchange
For several years, the students in my high school Art II class participate in an art exchange with a kindergarten class from one of our district's elementary schools. Each kindergarten student selects the name of a high schooler from a hat. Then, both classes read the book Life Doesn't Frighten Me, written by Maya Angelou with illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquait. In both classes, students discuss overcoming their fears and realize that at any age, overcoming our fears are part of our life's experience. The high school students paint a masonite board in acrylic. The boards go to the kindegarten class and the students draw on the board painted by their "buddy" using oil pastels. The boards go back and forth between the students several times, with the kindergarteners working in oil pastels and the high school students adding to the drawings in acrylic paint. During this time, the "buddies" exchange notes by placing them into envelopes taped to the backs of the boards. At the end of the exchange, the kindergarten class walks to the high school art room for a party where they finally meet their buddies. The students eat pizza, draw together, and interview one another. In the spring, the high school students walk to the elementary school to play in the playground with their kindergarten buddies.
The Memory Project
Our students participate in The Memory Project. The project matches one US high school student with an orphan from another country. Since children in orphanages often do not have personal items such as photographs of themselves, this project gives them a special portrait. Our students are given photographs of the children in order to create a portrait. The portraits are then delivered as a group to the orphanage so that every child has one. For more information, please visit www.thememoryproject.org