Students turn everyday items into works of art

Apr 3, 2020

According to Wareham High School teacher Amy Dion, invention, flexibility,  and creativity are some of the most important aspects of art. For her students, that statement is truer now than ever before. 

Schools are closed to limit the spread of coronavirus, and students and teachers have adapted by learning remotely from home. Dion’s art students don’t have access to the art supplies at the school, but they have been able to put their invention and creativity to use by turning everyday items into artwork.

Dion said that her Art 2 students would normally be working on sculptures and other three dimensional art forms in the classroom at this point in the semester. Since they don’t have access to their usual materials, Dion challenged students to create Mandala style installations out of items they found in their houses and backyards. 

Alexis Lynch used makeup for one of her pieces, and books for the other. Cooper Goodwin drew inspiration from music for his work, by making a symmetrical image out of cymbals and drumsticks. 

Other pieces drew inspiration from the outdoors. James L’Heureux used seashells and sand for his art, Jordan Bumpus used rocks, leaves, and moss to create a colorful display, and Ashlyn Ricardo gathered flowers for her vibrant installation.

Dion said she was inspired by her students’ resourcefulness, and that “it was heartwarming to envision them hunting and gathering these materials” to create their pieces. 

Since she can’t be there in person to demonstrate her lessons to students, Dion has adapted by using Google Forums and videos to guide the young artists through their creative process.

In addition to videos of other artists, Dion has been recording herself to provide instructional support to students. Dion said that she tries not to make assumptions about what art supplies students might have at home and to make sure that her advice is applicable to everyone. 

Her students are able to respond to the videos via the Google Forums. Dion said she has also asked students to submit photos of their art, both during their creative process, and the final results. 

Dion said that the process of switching to remote learning has been manageable, but “interesting to navigate” due to its unique constraints and challenges. 

School will be closed until at least May 4, and Dion said she will be assigning her students one new project per week while they learn from a distance. In a coming week, students will use everyday objects to cast shadows for silhouette-style art.