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Large-scale collaborative projects are most definitely worth it, despite the extra planning an in-depth project may require. Your students will immediately feel a sense of ownership and pride over their school. Not to mention, the incredible art advocacy for your school that large school-wide projects can bring. Starting a large project in the middle of the school year can be a great way to energize your students’ creativity and your teaching.
A mosaic can be completed by upper-elementary students and can be applied directly to cinderblock, as seen in the image below. However, if you do not want to create a permanent mosaic, you can certainly make a mosaic on wooden boards then hang the project when it is completed. Creating on boards may also make for easier mosaic application during work time.
If you don’t want to take on an entire wall, get your feet wet with mosaic work and try these mosaic stepping stones.
Painted murals are a classic addition to large spaces. Your artists will absolutely love painting on the wall, especially since it’s out of the norm! You can brainstorm with your students or ask for ideas from staff about locations in your school that might need a little mural love. For our murals, we mainly worked with our art club of 4th and 5th-grade students.
This happy heart and fruit mural was inspired by the bold and beautiful colors of Chris Uphues!
This cafeteria mural above was inspired by the eye-catching work of Romero Britto.
If you’ve never tried needle felting before, you are really missing out! Kids love the repetitive nature of punching barbed needles through the wool. It is such a satisfying process first explained on her blog by fellow art teacher, Cassie Stephens. The large needle felted quilt in the photo below was created by 4th and 5th-grade art club members.
One of the best large-scale collaborative project materials is wood since it is so versatile. Our students have created painted garden fences, 3-D wooden garden flowers, and a painted dot day installation. The possibilities are nearly endless!
This Dot Day installation is inspired by the book The Dot, created by Peter H. Reynolds. Using pre-cut wooden squares, each student in our school painted a concentric ring around their class dot to create this large-scale collaborative project!
You can even use wood scraps to create a collaborative art piece. Our art club members painted these remaining wood scraps from our garden flowers and will be layering them to make a bold abstract design!
Nothing brings students together like the power of a collaborative art piece. Try out one of these ideas as you approach the middle of the year. Hopefully, you will be inspired to take over a few of those beautiful places of your school and community that need a little art love.
What are your favorite large-scale projects you have created?
What is the importance of collaborative projects in schools?
What materials would you like to try using to create a large-scale project?
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.