Art Students Create Eco-Art Project to Raise Awareness

Art Students Create Eco-Art Project to Raise Awareness

The Art I classes recently created eco-art sculptures to raise awareness about pollution. Their projects were scheduled to be shown at the high school, but they have had to postpone until after the COVID-19 shutdown. 

“There are a lot of students who are choosing to make better choices that are more environmentally friendly,” art teacher Rebecca Harrison said. “Whether that is from deciding what to recycle . . . or just what it is that they can do to reduce their carbon footprint, we are already starting to see some major impacts.”

Art students use clean trash to create a work of art that aims to spotlight how much waste Americans throw away. Last year, they created an underwater scene with ‘floating’ water bottles and plastic trash. 

“Mrs. [Kari] McKenzie and I agreed that we would transition from our painting unit to our sculptural unit with something that bridged painting with our sculptural unit.” art teacher Rebecca Harrison said. “Mariah Reading, the artist that we are studying– she goes through national parks, picks up litter and trash and then she sculpts it and paints it. It is getting national acclaim. We were able to tie in everything that we were learning about this artist with eco-art and this is a project that we do every year to encourage students to recycle.”

Harrison and McKenzie attended a Texas Art Education Association conference where Mariah spoke as a Keynote speaker. Afterwards, they discussed what they learned from Mariah and wanted to spread Mariah’s message to their students. 

“It is now more critical than ever to leave no trace,” Mariah Reading states on her website “When our public lands are not vigilantly protected, the detrimental effects cannot be ignored. These wild spaces can easily be taken for granted, as even the most remote of such are becoming paved and overrun with idling personal vehicles. My practice revolves around ways I can lessen my footprint upon Earth and leave it better than I found it.”

Dividing trash per population, the average American produces about a ton of trash according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Less than half of this trash is recycled every year. 

“My goal personally is to get my home, my parents and my family to get them on board,” freshman Julee King said.  “I started a challenge [to produce zero waste for a week] to produce less waste, less plastic, reusing less things. I am using all plastic containers, all plastic bags trying to not use foods with paper wrappers, and I am composting more.”

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