Easy Tips For Creating A Legacy Installation: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

hanging metal stars

One of my favorite ideas for creating collaborative, meaningful, 3D work is the Legacy Installation. Like all great ideas, it is one that I’ve adapted from other teachers I respect and adore. The Legacy Installation is a collaborative piece of art created by the oldest grade level in your building and gifted to the school at the end of the school year. It is student-centered and student-driven, making it loved by everyone. Here are some practical tips for creating legacy installations…

1. Ask the students to create the message.

What do they want to say about their experience at your school? Have them participate in a number of brainstorming or ideation activities to get them thinking about what their art will say or look like.

decorated ceiling tiles
decorating ceiling tiles is a fun, low-cost way to start

2. Try anything once!

One class may want to make a book, another may want to create an outdoor piece. The sky is the limit when it comes to materials. Look to parents for building material donations.

3. Build to last.

These installations will need to stand the test of time in your building. Think about the space and traffic around them. Polyurethane is your new best friend! By planning ahead, you can make your students’ legacy last a long, long time.

hanging metal stars
ask about hanging regulations before you begin

4. Talk to your building and district maintenance and operations staff.

They often have the best ideas when it comes to hanging or displaying these kinds of installations. In many districts, they will do it at no cost to your building.

Legacy Installations can create and maintain a lasting connection between students and their schools, even after they’ve gone on to other things. Over time, your school will become a colorful, arts-rich, inviting space that students and families love being a part of. Students will look forward to their own installation projects as they grow in your school, making it a great motivation for hard work and positive behavior.

Have you ever done a legacy project? What was it? How did it go?

 Share your ideas in the comments section!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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