NOTE- Kathleen McCrea's Art Room at Wichita High School South was one of the first art rooms to be featured on IAD in the early days of the web in 1995. Kathleen taught art in Wichita Public Schools for 28 years at Hadley, Mead, Wilbur, and South High. She and her husband now exhibit their art across the U.S. and Canada. Kathy is into jewelry-making now and you can see her page on Pinterest.
For many years, students at Wichita High School South in Wichita, Kansas have created a display for the holiday season based on a famous work of art. Students in Drawing and Painting and Special Art Productions have painted an 8' x 12' triptych which stands behind our holiday tree.
Students must use problem solving to decide how to make the selected artwork fit the holiday season. Sometimes their ideas are wild! In December 1995 our students based their exhibit on Salvador Dali's "Persistence of Memory". Students in Introduction to Art had large papier mache ants on the tree and climbing from a picnic basket through the snow. The tree also was decorated with dripping clocks sewn from canvas and painted with acrylics. Students learned about Surrealism. We hope we've made this artwork memorable to our students and to our viewers. We also hope its surrealistic enough that Dali himself would have approved!
Our exhibit was a part of Holiday at the Museum in conjunction with the Wichita Art Museum where an annual exhibit is held with individual displays from schools, businesses, and individuals; several thousand people see this exhibit, so we're delighted to be a part of the merriment!
Students at Wichita High School South in Drawing and Painting, and Special Art Productions began the year in '94 by reading an article in the Wichita Eagle newspaper on the subject of tagging -when is/isn't it art? We wrote letters to our newspaper about our opinions and they published what our students wrote. Many students were very surprised because they had never seen any of their writing in publication before!
I introduced Keith Haring to the students to tie into the tagging idea. Students then had to base their Holiday Exhibit on Haring's work. They enlarged what originally was a tag of Harings on the the 8' x 12' (2.44 x 3.66 meters) triptych. They put a border of Haring's Radiant Baby. Introduction to Art students created papier mache Radiant Babies and red felt barking dogs; these were placed on the tree. In front of the tree we made Haring angels from foam core board and a large barking dog. A large felt Radiant Baby was autographed by the students and placed in the snow in front of the tree.
Later students spotted Haring's work when Honda used it in their ads for their van. (Art in the Work Place!) They were surprised, since they had been unfamiliar with it prior to our exhibit. Students also learned how famous artworks are adapted into all kinds of other visuals; for instance, the Haring exhibit would have been great as a display for a department store.
We have also created holiday exhibits based on Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" with papier mache stars and moons, a work based on Edward Hicks' "Peaceable Kingdom" great papier mache lions and sheep, and a display based on Rousseau's "The Jungle". We called this one "Jungle Bells" . We had great parrots on the tree, a large papier mache elephant on the floor and other goodies. The students at South have come to look forward to our holiday fun. We exhibit our work in the school library after it is shown at the Wichita Art Museum.