Head-Royce students spent March collaborating on art projects inspired by activism, and in doing so, learned what it means to be part of an inclusive community. Our Fine Arts teachers demonstrated how art can drive social change by sharing work by Andra Day, Favianna Rodriguez, and Cyrus Kabiru, among others, and then urged students to direct their own passions into their art.
The second graders, led by Marissa Kunz, worked together to design and paint a mural. Trisden R. ’31 found the project especially inspirational. "It felt really good because I could tell what my classmates were thinking about, since I could see what they were working on,” he says. Trisden hopes their mural “sends the message that 2nd graders care about Black American rights, Asian American rights, and animals, too.”
With Andrea Donahoe, kindergarten through 2nd grade students learned and sang Andra Day’s song “Stand up for Something.” Of the experience, Andrea Donahoe says: “It was beautiful to see my students sing with such heart, but my favorite part of the project was digging into the meaning of the lyrics with them.”
“It all means nothing
If you don't stand up for something
You can't just talk the talk
You got to walk that walk”
In their group discussion, says Andrea, the students, “articulated what it means to be an upstander and why it is important to be one. They understand that music is one way to raise your voice when you have something important to say.”
For Andie Patterson’s drama class, 4th graders wrote monologues from their future selves, in the year 2095 and beyond. Students thought about the current problems facing humanity and envisioned a future in which those problems were solved or transformed. Ella A. ’29, who enjoys creative writing, was particularly excited about the project. “I liked to imagine that I lived in a world with fewer problems,” Ella says. “I hope I inspire my friends and that people make an effort to stop global warming.”
Cheye Pagel asked her 6th grade photography class to brainstorm images inspired by the phrase, “My America is…” Their photo projects express the current social issues that are most important to them. Visual Art teachers Emily Miller and Ann Murphy talked to their students about the role that art plays in social protest, bringing to light resonant issues in visual form. The resulting work is both beautiful and inspiring.
“Through the arts, our students have a unique opportunity to shape the culture of our community,” says Department Co-Chair Harry Muniz. “As such, we hope this collaborative project will spark conversation, inspire reflection, and generate action toward equity and social justice.”
We’ve created a virtual gallery to display this abundance of art, drama, and film. It’s not quite the same as enjoying a cookie as you peruse the annual All-School Art Fair, but we hope you enjoy!