"When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you're really bringing them to life a spiritual life that surpasses the life they were originally created for." (1)
I am a Visual Arts teacher at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School. Betsy Ross is an inter-district magnet middle school with an emphasis on the arts. I have been teaching the Visual Arts for 10 years. We serve students from many districts in Grades 5-8. Our school promotes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, fusing the arts and academics. This integration of disciplines promotes a positive learning environment with a shared passion for information and a heightened awareness of our environment, both locally and globally. It enables students to appreciate all subject areas and through this process reaches many different types of learners.
Consumerism, overconsumption and waste will be the starting point for this unit, as it will provide for us not only the materials which we will use to create art, but will also provide us with food for thought and inspiration for change. Students will be asked to evaluate and reevaluate what they as citizens consume, what they can reduce and what they waste. We will discuss recycling basics and also discuss ideas on how to reuse items that are usually thrown away. We will also discuss how art can be a part of these ideas. Artists will be introduced to students and they will discuss a wide range of inspirational pieces by Louise Nevelson, Joseph Cornell, Betye Saar, Andy Goldsworthy and Clare Graham. Students will also research and participate in a range of activities from navigating the Environmental Protection Agency's website to collecting and analyzing personal waste and creating a sculpture with these materials.