In keeping with their year-long study theme of Project Earth, students in grades pre-kindergarten through four found creative ways to reduce, reuse, reclaim, repair, and recycle materials for their student artwork, which was on display beginning May 5 for the annual Lower School Art Show. Amazingly, packing materials, pizza boxes, box tops, sushi trays, scrap paper, buttons, fabric, and many other supplies transformed the halls and walls of the Lower School into an eye-popping exhibition of self portraits, shadow boxes, collages and more.


What may not be apparent to the casual admirer is that the art helped students clearly see the direct impact of their own waste flow as they reclaimed and found imaginative new uses for the cardboard pizza box trash from their Friday lunches. In addition, Ms. Jenkins introduced students to the artwork and techniques of specific famous artists in order to expose them and inspire them toward a variety of styles. The work of Joseph Cornell can be seen in the pizza- box creations, for example, and Saul Steinberg’s style is evident in the beautiful black ink lines with watercolors. The first and second grades studied contemporary artist Walton Ford and deceased artist John James Audubon and then created bird portraits in the style of both artists, contrasting and comparing, and learning the art vocabulary word contemporary.


Sometimes the projects took on a life of their own. The giant squid hanging in the Lower School foyer began as a conversation among the kids. They were thinking and talking a lot about why we should be careful about what we throw away. Someone mentioned keeping our oceans clean and then the class jumped on the idea of what would happen if their tossed cardboard and scraps landed on the GIANT SQUID!  From that moment, the unplanned squid project popped up and became a great and unexpected adventure. Soon to come from the pre-kindergarten…ORCA!