Hero’s Journey photos: An artist residency with the EMP and Seattle Public Schools

AdamsEMPIf you could write a fantasy novel, who would your hero be?  If you could create a model of your character out of clay and found objects, what would she look like?  These marvelous sculptures are the work of a 5th grade class, who did that very thing.

AdamsEMP2They wrote a fantasy story from first person perspective, narrated by their main character.  Then, over the course of one week of art classes, they sketched and created a 3-d model of their character using clay and mixed media.  They also had the opportunity to construct a stand or platform and tools or accessories for their character using scrap wood and found objects.

This program is a collaboration between the EMP and Seattle Public Schools, connecting the arts to core curricula.  To learn more about this program, please see my earlier post Hero’s Journey.



Thank you to the Experience Learning Community Foundation for funding the arts in public schools.AdamsEMP5.2 AdamsEMP6

Shadow Box Art Books

Mary Peterson‘s cigar box sculpture that inspired the theme for our fall after school art series, “The Art of Books.”

We adapted the project for the classroom using cardboard boxes.



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The students created a character using air-dry clay as the head, and told the story with their box.  The body was a pencil or chopstick punched through the box.

We talked about working 3-dimensionally, and wrapping the imagery around, above, below, inside, and out.  Students were encouraged to work in layers, using papers, fabrics, clay, and mixed media to set the scene.  Many kids made small clay charms that represent the wishes, hopes, and dreams of their characters.

Every artwork tells a story, but even so, this project would be a terrific link to a creative writing assignment.