For the first art project back at school the students and I were asked to create a permanent piece of art work for the detention center. Because the work is a collaboration between the school and detention center community there is no one theme that is covered in this artwork. What I wanted the students to do was to explore their individual stories through a variety of art media so that each one could represent themselves in some way.
It is more often than not that society forgets that my students have personal lives with hopes and dreams, and categorizes them into groups instead of seeing each one of them for who they are. Each one of my students has a story to tell or something to share about themselves. They can reveal a goal, a desire, or share an obstacle or triumph. The students that come to this school are not identical copies of anything and come from a variety of backgrounds and situations. They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends, and parents themselves. They are not a statistic, but actual young people who are quick at adapting, fast at learning, and adept at many things. It is my hope that through this collaborative art piece viewers will see my students as the bright, smart, sensitive, and creative individuals they are. Maybe observers will be able to relate by finding something familiar within the stories and expressions the artists reveal through their art?
Each student has been working really hard to represent themselves for this special artwork by exploring art techniques and materials, but also finding a way to represent their story. In these preliminary works you’ll see investigations in identification, explorations in symbolism, and inspections of personal history. Art is not just a form of personal expression but a way to communicate, define experiences, and allow different kinds of storytelling. This collaboration art piece is to show that everyone of our students is an individual, however, you may see commonalities that bind us all together creating unspoken connections between artist and viewer.