We have a great art teacher at our school. He is always busy doing great work with kids and is always thinking about big picture. This year, he organized a visit by a local artist, Michelle Stitzlein. She visited our school for two days last week and kids were able to work together to create pieces that will be put in our school courtyard.
Much of Michelle Stitzlein's art is art with recycled materials. We began the two day visit with a whole school assembly where Michelle shared her own art. It was amazing to see the creative process and the places she gets her ideas. As part of her slide show, she talked about her travels and the inspirations she finds for her art in different areas of the world. She also shared examples of other things she's found in her travels that have been created from recycled materials. Shoes, houses, etc. created from things that once had a different use. It was a fascinating presentation for both children and adults. She had so much to say about art, creativity, inspiration, taking care of our world, and more. All in such a short time.
For months, to get ready for the visit, our kids have been bringing in plastic bottle caps. Creating sculptures with children, using bottlecaps is one of her specialities. And her book LITTLE BOTTLECAP BOTTLECAP gives families lots of ideas for more projects they can do at home. It was amazing to see how many bottlecaps we collected at our school over the course of the last few months. And it was amazing to see how many sizes and colors bottlecaps come in.
For the two days that Michelle visited, each class was able to join her in the gym to work on one of the community pieces that were made. Before her visit, classes painted the pieces. During her visit, the kids worked in small groups to choose the best caps for each space, decide on the placement of the bottlecaps, and use drills to secure the caps to the pieces.
We ended up with several great large pieces, many of which will be placed around our courtyard and other places in the school.
This was a great visit. Michelle was amazing with the students. I am sure she opened up lots of possibilities for our students in terms of creativity. I love community projects and the focus on recycled art was a great theme, I thought. I think her work with kids will have a lasting impact in so many ways. We are lucky to have such an amazing local artist to work with our students.