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Arts & Activities - Page 28

RECYCLING renaissance M any artists have manipulated and transformed found objects into creative works of art—Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp defied the old rules of art making with this process. This concept is what inspired my “shoe transformation project,” wherein students would use their natural creativity and talent to transform an everyday item into a work of art. I chose to do this project with fourthgraders because children “ice Cream,” by Jessica. at that age still have so much imagination, which is ver y important idea was not to make more trash, to the process of designbut to use up some of the “junk” ing shoe art. The projthat an art room tends to accuect began with an mulate. It was very important for “Locomotive,” by Bianca. introduction and the students to understand that they planning session could only take what they needed for that would push the shoe—only that which would add the students to to the transformation. be independent My learning cur ve for the and creative, first attempt at this project and teach them was steep. The students to problemneeded a lot of one-to-one solve through time to consult with me, a project. brainstorm ideas, and use The students their engineering brain to figure brainstor med out how to actually make their shoe difoptions for turnferent from those around them. It is a ver y ing their shoes into something completely different. involved project that takes a lot of patience and time on Students could choose to use either one or two shoes. the teacher’s par t. The outcome is well wor th the ef for t, items often became a big decision. The goal was not to though, and by the second time, the project was easier destroy the integrity of the shoes, but to transform them into and the results much more interesting. something else. My favorite aspect of this project was that it allowed We began the work process by mapping out the concept students a rare opportunity to just build—to do something and introducing the materials available for them to use. without restrictions. It was inspiring to see them involved This was challenging for my young artists because, with so with the project and watch their self-esteem grow as the final many options, making choices and weighing their options outcomes of their shoes emerged. was difficult. One of my students said, “I didn’t even know I could Once students had a concept and materials in mind, make ar t so well!” For me, that’s what it’s all about—as they could begin manipulating their shoe. I encouraged ar t teachers, we must find ways to challenge our stuthem to add any desired pieces onto the shoe before dents and make them feel successful about what they beginning to paint, so that the concept could be changed have accomplished. n or manipulated as necessar y. The transformation was closely tied to recycling. I tried to At the time of this project, Erin Belefski was teaching art at the make them conscious of how much waste we produce. The American International School in Vienna, Austria. by Erin Belefski 28 may 2013 • 80 years x

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