Alliance Academy students recently had the opportunity to display their artwork at a local art gallery in downtown Cincinnati. One of the school’s third-grade teachers, Josh Wallace, was contacted by a friend who curates the art gallery to put the experience together.
As a former teacher, the curator asked Alliance teachers to work with students to enter a self-portrait competition for consideration in the gallery. The finalists’ art would then be displayed inside the gallery, allowing the students to be featured artists.
The students who participated were from second- through seventh-grade, totaling to 21 students. Once the finalists were selected, the students received a complimentary field trip to the gallery. The building where the artwork is displayed is inside the third largest building downtown, creating a memorable trip for the students.
To create their portraits, students were instructed to think about what they want to be when they grow up, and staff snapped a headshot of them while considering their options. Next, the headshots were printed and embellished with Clip Art photos for additional inspiration. Students then re-created their image with paint on canvas for the final product.
“I will truly say this might have been the highlight of my teaching career,” said Tara Serger, art teacher at Alliance. “I had students coming up to me after seeing their work on display, saying how proud they were of themselves, which was priceless.”
Students enjoyed having conversations about their pieces with gallery patrons who were visiting the gallery on their lunch breaks. These conversations, along with brief interviews by the curator, created a unique, interactive art experience.
“It was amazing. Part of me was in shock the entire time,” said Serger. “It was very professional and a moment that these students will probably tell their grandkids about!”
The artwork will be on display for a month and is open to the public.