Helping Students See What Is Important

27 04 2013

After all the glam of the runway, I am back at work and focused on Haiti.  Yes- I am still an art teacher and I am working hard at teaching all the varied skills my student need to learn for creating an etching in Printmaking, using the Text tool in Media Art to create a Band Cover, finishing up AP Art Portfolio’s, and so much more… but  I am drawn back to my thoughts of the children in Haiti.  I have been raising money for Haiti for four years now and specifically focused on one special orphanage called  I follow the Facebook updates and read the blogs posted by the director of the orphanage.  I get to see photos of the children getting good meals, nice clothing, playing, going to school, and watching “A Bug’s Life” on a projected wall.  24 little children watching a movie is not too amazing in America, but if you know the stories about these children and how this all came to be, you would be filled with pride and tears would well in your eyes.  


My art students have been on this journey with me for four years, helping me create art pins for our community service project Homes for Haiti.  It has grown and is still raising funds to help build Haiti Back Better with the Bill Clinton’s Haiti Relief Fund.  I decided to have my students get a more personal feel about the conditions of the children in Haiti, so I linked them to the orphanage.

 We had a Cultural Festival yesterday and I set up a table about Haiti.  I was lucky to have some photo frames donated to help me raise money for the orphanage, the frames were made and painted by Haitian Artists.  I also requested that my students select an orphan and to paint a portrait of them to send to them in Haiti. I wanted a few portraits to have on display for the Cultural Festival to bring awareness to our project too. 


My heart was warmed by students enthusiastically selecting one child at a time.  We began our portraits this week.  Word got out about our portrait paintings and soon other students not enrolled in my art classes asked if they could paint a portrait?  I said yes.  Some needed more support to get facial features correct or skin tone to look just right, but the students are doing a great job.  I have a few more children to paint to make sure every child will receive a painted portrait, but I know some students will double up.   

The discussions at the art tables are so wonderful.  The students are following the orphanages FB page and sharing news about the children.  The big news this week was the new school bus.  My students love the new photos of the children playing, attending school, painting pictures, and watching movies.  We talk about the children in Haiti as if we know them.  We daydream about their personalities and dream of one day going to Haiti and volunteering at the orphanage.

We raised some money from selling our painted photo frames and as soon as all the portraits are complete we will send them to Haiti with our love and hope for a bright future. My students are understanding the value of the simple but so important things about a child’s life in Haiti.  They are learning to enjoy the smiles and bright big brown eyes that we see on our computer screens.  


I am so proud of my students.  I am hopeful that our work will help the children in Haiti become strong, educated, wonderful Haitian leaders.


Encore Performance was a Success!

23 04 2013

Encore Performance

We have worked so hard all school year so this show was no different. We pumped it up a bit by adding a few more original designs. I even got into the act and completed a dress from school brochures and remnant fabric that I dipped in tempera paint. Encore Schultz Dress

It was fun to see my students wear original designs they created. Some of my designers became models for their very own dress created for this final show. I have to add I had one student sew her Homecoming dress and then her Prom dress. Very impressive. We opened the show with 400 RSVPS- maxed the seating again. One exciting announcement is this will now be a yearly event with a Designers Scholarship next year! I am very pleased to see that all the work we did promoting and displaying our talents have moved individuals to now establish a annual show with some $$ attached for a student to pursue higher education.

Models and Designers

Click Link to View-   News about the Recycle Runway Fashion Show

Future Business Leaders of America- Curbside Couture Presentation

10 04 2013

ImageToday was an exciting one.  Connie Fails and I presented our project the Curbside Couture to a group of 200+ young people and adults about the evolution of our project.  We shared with the audience how the idea started and what is involved in sustaining the recycled fashion show for the future.  Our audience was amazed at the creations students created with free, recyclable materials, and all without sewing machines.  I shared ideas on how to gather materials, organize interested students, how to put it all together to create a garment, and how they can get involved in our runway fashion show.

 We walked away feeling that we inspired more students, teachers, and adults to get involved.  We influenced others into working with their own communities by creating their own show or creating a project on their own to improve a part of their community.  The important part is to have everyone realize you do not need money to get started, you just need energy, ideas, and creativity.

 I introduced Tyree Guyton and Bill Strickland as individuals who inspired communities to create change using creative people and ideas.  Both of these talented and creative people made positive change in their communities.  Tyree reused, recycled, reorganized the items cast off in his community in Detroit to bring pride and positive energy to bring change for a forgotten area of Detroit.  Bill Strickland understood the trans formative power of art while he was a ceramic student in school.  He remembered how it empowered him and created a desire to share this with other students.  He successfully built a school to create skills to lead to creative careers for inner-city students that many had given up on.  Bill inspired other creative people to invest in his idea and he has provided the city of Pittsburgh a wonderful organization to educate so many students who would not have had opportunities to pursue careers.

It is my hope that I was able to convey the importance of Art Education in schools.  How we all learn differently and creative people are necessary for our success.  We need to support the arts to help grow our communities and reinvigorate our economy.  


Lead by example and inspire others

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