Sometimes schools get into a bit of a bind in terms of space. That's why teachers are constantly moving classrooms, even teaching out of trailers and off rolling carts. One space issue that EES has been confronting is Physical Education space on rainy or cold days. The EES gym is multipurpose, and gets used for lunch each day. On rainy days, that means that P.E. classes go to the Lower Gym. For a long time, this is what the lower gym has looked liked:
So, we hatched a plan. The kids would repaint it. It wouldn't change the facts of the space, but art has many jobs. Sometimes, art fixes things. Sometimes, art draws attention to problems that need fixing, by initiating a conversation.
Few artists in history have done that as well as artist and activist Keith Haring. His work straddled the worlds of street graffiti and fine gallery art. But in all of it, he worked to use art as a vehicle to engage his viewers in conversations on difficult topics.
|Keith Haring, 1986, Logo against Family Violence|
After the work was chosen, seventeen figures in all, students and I prepped the walls by painting big washes of background color and transferring sketches to the wall with the help of an old-fashioned overhead projector. And then, they painted!
It was marvelous to see students so excited to change their own environment, working together. To make it a little better, and to draw attention to the space.
The finished work was outlined, motion lines added.
Mrs. Sessions has been raving about her revamped classroom, and kids are enjoying it tremendously, too, trying out mimicking the poses they painted. Here are the talented artists!
|And the lovely Mrs. Sessions, top left, (grinning!) in her repainted classroom.|
"Art is not a thing, it is a way."