Monthly Mentor

Holly Houston (March)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Houston is the Visual and Performing Arts Learning Area Leader at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine. A National Board Certified Teacher, she loves to get her hands messy with her own art and is truly passionate about instilling a love of making art in her students. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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December 14, 2018

Peace Dove

By Shelly Breaux

Ever go through Starbucks drive through and pay for the car behind you? I am not one to frequent the coffee shop but each time I go I try to make it a habit to treat the next car.  I especially do this around the holidays. In fact, I go more often during the holidays just for this reason.

How do you teach your students to give back through art? How do you teach them to give of their time and talent? How do you lead them to be givers? I want to share with you one of the projects I have done with my students in the past that focused on just this!

Peace Doves

This project started with me wanting to show students how you can get others attention through art and how you can send positive messages through art. I did this project several years ago between the Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

Picture1

It is not uncommon for my students to be seen on campus laying on the floor, standing on tables or stealing rocks out of the front flower bed. (I may need to explain this in another blog, TBC)

When my students are in the halls around campus others don’t pay much attention to what they are doing. This makes it easy for us to camouflage the doves into our surroundings.

Students are to pick areas that they want to hide the doves.  They must use what they know with color theory to be able to match the colors they need. They must make choices in which mediums would work best for the space they are working in.

Picture2

We purposely make some doves more visible to get others attention.

Picture3

Then the magic happens. My students start hearing others talking about the doves. Once people start to notice them (kids and adults) they start asking questions. Who made these? Why are they here? What does it mean? Look! I found another one! WAIT! Come see this one!

Picture4

I encourage my students to just listen and not reveal that we put them there. During class, we share stories of what we are hearing in the halls. This can lead to class discussions on:

  1. How can art make an impact on others?
  2. How can art send a positive message to others?
  3. Now that we got their attention, what do we do?
  4. Do we leave them up or do something with them?
  5. What can these doves mean?


That year we decided to take them down and place them on large windows in the main hall of our campus with the world PEACE. Students decided the doves can represent diversity, peace, and love. That is when we titled them PEACE DOVES.

Picture5

This was done 3 years ago, and do you know I still see doves left behind on campus. I have 3 still in my room. Every so often, a student will notice the doves in my room and inquire about it. They will even share other places they have seen them on campus.

Picture6

This is not a project I do every year as I feel that it will lose its impact. Maybe it is time to revisit this project. With social media having such a huge impact on my students, it maybe a way to focus on something positive when we get back from our Christmas break.

-SB

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