Sunday, May 4, 2014

Compassion Project Part 2

Recently I posted a project that I did with my 8th Grade students entitled "Reverse Shading". In this post I mentioned that this had been one of the projects I did with my students for our district's "Art of Compassion" art show that was shown at The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. This show displayed over 100 pieces from local middle/high school students and each piece was auctioned off to raise money for four local charities. We did this event paired with The Fox Valley Symphony and local musician Corey Chisel. It was such a fantastic event, but what was really amazing was having the opportunity to teach my students about local charities and the power Art can have on raising awareness and teaching compassion.

To prepare my students for the "Art of Compassion" event, I wanted them to understand why it is so important to understand the idea of compassion. To me compassion can come in many capacities. Of course showing compassion for others by understanding the troubles they are encountering is the most common understanding of compassion, but I wanted my students to understand that inanimate things can help us get through difficult times and in a way provide us with compassion. For this reason, I allowed my students to explore a variety of different subject matters.

Along with the "Reverse Shading" compositions that my 2D students did, the 3D students created beautiful tiled scenes that expressed their understanding of compassion. Each tile is built forward to create a 3D effect. The students really did a great job creating depth through their layering techniques. I have also attached some of the artist statements my students turned in with these projects. I feel the artist statements show a deep and personal understanding of compassion.

"I chose a cabin because I have memories of when someone who I had never even met showed compassion to me there when I was younger. I think compassion is having both sympathy and empathy for someone who is struggling and making a point to show them that you care." 

"For my compassionate art project, I chose to show what many of us go through. A lot of us have good days, but when we have our rough times, there are many different ways that help us get through our depressions. There is always that one person or thing that really picks us up and gets us going. No matter how hard or long we’ve been recovering, they have always supported us all the way through. Sometimes, we can never find that light, but we always keep going. Even in the darkest times, you will find yourself again."

"In this project I made two coy fish swimming in a pond. They represent yin and yang. How does this deal with compassion? Well yin and yang represent balance and tranquility. Compassion you need that balance. Some people are struggling with illnesses and they need that someone there to balance them and help them get through it. This imagery means a lot to me because my friends are here for me, and I’m here for them if anything did happen, we have each other to back each other up or help get through a tough time."

"For my project I chose to focus on an experience I’ve had with compassion. I was bullied back in elementary school and that has really shaped who I am today. I focus my artwork around the things that cheered me up during that time. To express my understanding of compassion and my personal experience, I created campfire out of clay. Coming home to a campfire after a hard day at school always cheered me up. In a way the campfire was compassionate to me. I know that a campfire can’t empathize with my experience, but the people around it have always been compassionate to me."

I still have one more project to share and I plan to include more about the process I went through to teach my students about the local charities we were supporting for this event. Please check back!

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