Within these last few weeks at ACH Clear Pathways, the Art Room has begun to complete its first major interactive art project for the Winter Showcase. This project consists of the students making personalized, traditional masks while including one’s own personal touch to reflect their individuality. Before the students began designing and creating their masks, there was a class lesson on how cultures use masks within their traditions and their importance within their belief systems. After the lesson, the students were then encouraged to begin sketching out possible ideas for their masks while drawing inspiration from significant items, activities, locations, and cultures.
The mask-making project combines and amplifies the importance of inclusivity and individuality for the students to take inspiration from their own lives and interests to create them. Some students chose to focus on more traditional designs for their masks, taking inspiration from Native American or African spirit masks, while others chose a more creative abstract design, focusing on a certain piece of art, interest, or hobby they really love. Whatever direction the students took when sketching and designing their masks is individualized to them personally. This allows them to include themselves not only within their art but also in the Winter Showcase.
Inclusiveness and acceptance of individuality are essential to creating a welcoming environment within the classroom. Teachers can implement such an environment in various ways, whether through classroom design, teaching relevant lessons, or providing material where students feel represented. However, before my time at the ACH Art Room, I had yet to consider enhancing the inclusivity and individuality of my classroom environment through art projects or creative outlets. As a future teacher, I am always looking for opportunities to welcome more inclusiveness and acceptance of individuality within my classroom and combining this with an art project or creative outlet. It also allows the students a light break from the usual classroom assignments.