In art, the auction project has been our most recent middle school undertaking. This year, our art project had the driving question, “What does it mean to be a Hillside student?”
Each middle school student chose one of 18 pre-selected words that described the school. Each student painted a strip of canvas using the driving question, (What does it meant to be a Hillside student), incorporating their interpretation of their word all while adhering to the fundamental elements of art.
This was a difficult project for some of the students because I asked them to use their emotions!
“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”
Some of the students got very emotional about their part, especially when I asked them why they chose certain colors or lines. I wanted them to ascribe meaning to their work, not just, “I think it’s pretty.” or, “I don’t know, I just like it.” I wanted the students to be able to articulate the meaning and have an emotional, conscience connection to their work.
This art assignment was a perfect example of project based learning. While the children used their ‘voice’ and exerted their ‘choice’, they were challenged to go deeper in their artistic interpretation.
In every way, this project encapsulates what it means to be a Hillside student. The very production of it felt like we were preparing for one of our quarterly expos. On the back of the art piece each student wrote a statement. They wrote about their specific piece, explaining what their given word was and they ended their statement with an artistic signature.
The front of the art piece was created by weaving the individual 18 strips into one unified piece. Hillside cannot be described in one word or defined fully by one student. When woven together, intertwined in a beautiful and colorful way, you get a more accurate representation of what it truly means to be a Hillside student.