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Mulibwanji | 16.4 x 12.8 in| chalk pastel, charcoal, micron pen, toned paper.
Cross-hatching, shading, smudging, cropped initial drawing to stress personal nature of turmoil.
Highland Park High School|Dallas, TX
Click to enlarge
This is Going to be Mine | 4.75 x 6.5 in | graphite pencils, white drawing paper, ink pad. Hand deckled edges, studied/recreated fingerprints on letters Zambians gave me, shaded w/ graphite.
I am Lewis | 14.8 x 11 in| Prismacolor colored pencil, Strathmore drawing paper, Citrasolve, T-shirts from Zambian summer camp.
Citrasolve of T-shirt designs, drawing/burnishing with colored pencil, first attempt failed so redid.
My art is based on my experience working with orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia over the last two summers. Children I deeply love and have spent time with personally.
Listen to the student statement

Alexandra Sharp
Listen to the teacher statement

To start the year off, I have students do a great deal of planning for their portfolio. I encourage students to find the purpose behind why they create art to help them stay motivated. If students can identify that bigger idea and understand the purpose, it will connect with them as an artist as well as the viewer. In her portfolio, Claire wanted to provide a voice to the children she works with in Africa. She wanted to tell their stories. In doing that, she wanted to convey the essence of who these children are and to capture the love within each of their hearts.
From the start, Claire had great technical skills and emotional maturity, but there was a disconnect in her ability to show that in her artwork. Claire was very reserved but eventually was able to let go and really be present in the process.
I tell my students to embrace the process. Try crazy, new things that may seem weird to others. Art is about experimenting and problem-solving.

As an art teacher, I want to cultivate an environment where students feel comfortable trying new things. It is how you learn how materials work or don’t work. Through experimenting with different processes and materials, Claire’s confidence grew. She got more comfortable pushing ideas and boundaries.
Every part of Claire’s portfolio was so well thought out. The materials used were all purposefully selected. A lot of the materials were brought back from her trips to Africa. Before each piece, she would create a thumbnail rendering that included the materials to be used in her artwork. Experimentation and planning are so important! Taking notes and annotating throughout the planning process is key. I tell students to write down EVERYTHING that goes through their head when thinking through their pieces. Ask questions. Write random words and phrases. Do the research upfront. This will make everything else go so much smoother down the road.
Claire Cochran
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