East Kingston Elementary School Trash Self-portrait Mosaic, 2009

Trash Mosaics East Kingston Elementary School, 2009

Project Statement

As artist-in-residence for East Kingston, I was asked to create a school project spun out of my Self-Portrait as Revealed by Trash piece for a schoole-wide project.

After a presentation about my work, eco-art and environmental issues, I taught the students how to work digital point and shoot cameras. In each class, the kids made photos of their own trash they collected for a day from home. In my second visit with the students, we made collages from their photographs that will be put together into a large school mosaic installation. Each grade we worked with thier class theme to create an image relevant to their studies. For example, kindergarten did penguins, first grade did butterflies, and fifth grade did endangered species.

My first goal was to introduce the kids to the possiblities of art — that it can be participatory, engaging, issue oriented — and what modern artists create. I engaged the students about environmental issues and a consideration of their own contribution to the waste stream and a project that generates self-reflection. Besides learning tangible photography skills, the students created collages in groups in order to foster cooperation and collaboration.

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