Upper School News

Art Imitates Life, Upper School Students Imitate Art
Rachel Freeman

About two weeks ago, Upper School Spanish teacher Jo Newman discovered an Instagram challenge in which people from around the world create their favorite pieces of art using items found in their homes. Jo was inspired by this challenge and decided it was the perfect project for her students to do. They were asked to choose a piece of art by an Hispanic artist, recreate the artwork, and research the artist. Students took off to recreate their chosen pieces of art with vigor, some opting to include their families, either to help with props or even to be models! 

“After an initial, tough transition to remote learning, this project felt like a moment of success,” Jo shared. “It was a highlight for me that students were able to spend some creative time offline engaged in this project. Sitting in front of a computer can be numbing, and students expressed they wanted more activities away from their screens.”

Freshman Mia T. appreciated the opportunity to be away from her screen. “This assignment was really fun because it allowed us to take a break from our screens and be more comedic about our homework,” she said. “I enjoyed trying to figure out how best to recreate a classic painting with random household items.”

Students recreated works of art from many recognizable and new-to-them Hispanic artists, including well-known artists Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Frida Kahlo, as well as contemporary artists including Marta Minujín and Quino. Students’ attention to detail was on display as they shared their creations with classmates via Zoom breakout rooms. 

“My favorite part of the assignment was at the end when we shared our art recreations and I got to see the different interpretations that my friends did,” Mia shared. “I would love to do homework like this again, especially because it was hands-on and new, which is something I have been missing since remote learning began.” 

Jo has been reflecting on a phrase she’s heard often during this uncertain time. “I have been hearing people say, ‘You will remember this moment.’ For my students, they might not remember the grammar or conjugations we reviewed, but maybe they will remember working with their families to recreate this famous art and come together as a class to share.”

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