This year’s Thanksgiving art show was called Into the Amazon. This past summer, a group of Community School teachers, students, and parents ventured into the Amazon jungle with an alumnus as our guide. I was so inspired by this experience, and knew it had to be our theme for the art show so we could share our adventures with the whole school as we embarked on our Trail Blazing theme for the school year.
In the art room students worked at centers to create paintings, drawings and sculptures inspired by the Amazon rainforest. As classes worked, students learned through questioning, research, and problem solving independently and in groups. Student art was inspired by the multitude of plants and animals found within the rainforest, as well as through the indigenous people as students investigated dress, food and dwellings. Our Bolivian exchange students enriched our studies by imparting additional information about the Amazon to our classes. Students learned about artists who have been captivated by jungles and the Amazon throughout history. Classes worked diligently on observational drawings in our campus sensory garden as they made comparisons of the great Amazon and our own environment. Artwork was also inspired by the Huntopia exhibit at the Taubman Museum where colors collided with tropical birds and Victorian furniture. In middle school students incorporated South American studies in their classes which enriched and inspired their projects. At the elementary level students incorporated their studies of butterflies and fish and animals from their classrooms.
In our show there was art depicting plants, butterflies, birds, insects, frogs, turtles, big cats (and little ones). There were also projects incorporating destruction, wildfires, and messages with a sense of urgency. As the Amazon faces ever growing threats it’s important to educate ourselves of the magic and unreplaceable splendor of this great jungle. Our students have been given a platform through their art to share their awe, appreciation of nature and need for conservation as more of the rainforest disappears each day.
Students have been involved in every step of the show from creating the art, helping to mat artwork, curating art, making decorations, setting up the show and leading tours. It is so special that we can all come together each year to celebrate our students at the art show. We applaud all of our Trail Blazing artists and I truly hope you enjoy Into the Amazon.
— Christina Gramm
Community School Art Teacher