Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guiding Student Creativity into a Piece of Art

Stephen Carmody - COT Opera for All Guest Artist

My role in the program was to introduce the topic and profession of a designer, focusing on sets, costumes, and props for the theatre.  We also had to construct  these elements for each school's physical production.  Given less than 2 hours for each class, I was slightly intimidated.  But after reading the scripts developed by the young students of the program, it was clear I did not need to introduce imagination or creativity; these kids had it. 

My goal was to create a class that would allow the students to be in control and express themselves to design their show.  I merely provided the art supplies and helped with the hot glue gun.   Because every production took place in Chicago, the students were excited to recreate a Chicago skyline for their backdrop.  I came to the first class with a variety of craft materials, research images, and cardboard cut-out skyscrapers. Students quickly cleared the center of their classroom and began to cut, glue, and collage.  Each student created their own building.  Some buildings were representative of real architecture, ("I'm going to make the Willis Tower!") others were fictional versions of the city, ("I'm going to put my name on this building!"). 

It was messy.  Glue dripped, and glitter was poured, but in the end, each student's uniquely creative building was attached together and formed one giant skyline.  The students stepped back and smiled at the work they created together.  Shorty after that initial shock one girl proclaimed, "It's beautiful!". 

I very much agreed.

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