Holman students use art to help fellow classmates
Holman students use art to help fellow classmates
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
What started as a class discussion on what artists do with their completed work turned into a cause-based activity in which art students at Holman Middle School raised more than $500 to support fellow classmates.

Students in art teacher Montie Richter’s 2D and 3D classes were learning about why artists make art. Different reasons they discussed were commission work, art for a purpose or function, art for art’s sake, art with a voice and art for a cause.

As they delved deeper into the cause-created art reasoning, students learned how art can be used to help raise funds for a cause or organization. As they learned more, the student artists came to Richter with the idea of hosting their own art fair and donating the funds back to the Holman community. And that idea became reality when students sold their art during parent-teacher conferences in October. Students volunteered to work at the art booth and agreed on donating funds to Helping Hands, a program at Holman where counselors provide services or items to students who need them, including things like coats or shoes.

Students created their art using leaves. The 2D classes used leaves they found outside to replicate with a sketch, paint on or make a leaf impression and the 3D classes created leaves out of clay. Both groups worked on curriculum skills like shading and shadowing, learning about shades and tints and new mediums.

“Since all classes were working in the theme of leaves, it occurred to us that we could have a themed art sale for a cause – art with heart,” Richter said. The theme of the art sale became Art in Action, Leaf an Impression.

Richter also worked with students on areas outside of art, like explaining how the pieces were made, how to encourage people to buy or donate money and where the proceeds were being donated. Students created flyers to promote the fair and hung them around the school. At the sales table, iPads ran through a slideshow of the pieces with information about how they were made. In addition to the art and marketing skills, students also used counting skills and kept track of sales so they knew which pieces sold and for how much.

“I liked that they were reusing the leaves, and not letting them die,” said eighth grader Markelle Robinson. She plans to take art next semester but volunteered to help man the sales booth, even though she wasn’t currently in the class. “It’s good to help the community and the school. It’s like giving back.”

As much as the students loved actually creating the pieces, they felt a sense of pride knowing their work would benefit others. Their favorite part of the process was creating the art, but knowing it was helping their classmates was a close second.

“It’s fun because it’s cool selling art to help the school and other kids,” seventh grader Aundrea Rosales said. “It’s cool to help with sales to support other students.”

“It feels nice knowing they’ll get the same things as you by helping,” seventh grader Rebekah Carnie said.

The idea for the art fair grew organically – as the students learned about things they could do with their art, they put it to action, and decided to use their talents to benefit a cause.

“Teaching students character, generosity and the power of art with a purpose is the aim of this project, and I am pleased that all students seem to understand through hard work and artistic efforts, their work can impact the world around them,” Richter said. “Students are excited to see how artists can make an impact in a positive way.”


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Students and teacher Montie Richter (standing in back, center) are shown at the art booth during parent-teacher conferences.