This spring, Kent Innovation High’s Economics/English classes (grade 11) engaged in a project connecting art to real-world economic issues. Students began by studying supply and demand shifts and the role these play in the national marketplace.
Four short stories by powerhouse authors including Kurt Vonnegut and Chinua Achebe created a lens by which students could understand the personal impact of economic shifts including poverty, government intervention, immigration, and more.
Design thinking came next. The facilitators, Mr. Jeff Bush and Mrs. Rachel Haddad, asked students to communicate an “Economic Art Story”, building upon their new knowledge of supply and demand and storytelling, on a blank 11×14 canvas.
Over the next four weeks, students worked in teams of 1-4 to sketch, graph, and revise early designs for their canvas. The painting began next. Local professional artist, Jacqueline Gilmore, visited classes to support student’s painting process. Students painted. Students built supply and demand graphs. Students wrote Artist Statements.
Finally, the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Jacqueline Gilmore visited KIH and engaged students around their final “Economic Art Story” paintings. Currently, the class is in the process of submitting 11 of the nearly 30 student paintings to ArtPrize 2017’s Youth Collaboration Award.
In reflecting on the spring semester, this project stands out as an exciting project based learning opportunity with authentic community partnerships and real world applications. We are excited to see where our ArtPrize submission takes us, and are crossing our fingers for an entry!
This blog post was written by Rachel Haddad, KIH Facilitator for Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.