Sept. 9-15 is National Arts in Education Week and the students at the Lincoln Public Schools Arts and Humanities Focus Program were able to kick off the week at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (IQSCM) on Sept. 7 as part of the First Friday visual art series throughout Lincoln.
The students’ pieces on display were inspired by an October 2017 visit to the museum — and especially by a Halloween pop-up exhibit titled “The Haunting of Quilt House.”
“The display was very much like traditional quilts just turned on their head a little bit. That is what drew us to the quilt museum at the time,” said Emily Dvorak, math teacher at Arts and Humanities.
Students took inspiration from what they saw and created individual paper collage quilt blocks focused around Halloween themes.
“We had a theme that was nature and on my quilt I focused on human nature, kind of to the extreme with violence and gore and things like that,” commented senior Jordan Raemakers. “I wanted my quilt to look like a criminologist’s diary. That is what I was going for.”
The staff at IQSCM were so excited by the students’ work that they asked them to create two more quilts. Arts and Humanities students created three quilts in all through various workshops with teachers – two using paper collages and one using fabric and applique techniques.
I think art educates us on different topics that we might not even know about, and it expresses our feelings that we might not be able to express very well.
Dvorak added, “Projects like this are fun because there is so much symmetry in quilts and geometric designs, and then the variations on those, too. It’s fun to be able to integrate those into our classrooms, too, connecting to what we’ve done elsewhere.”
The second paper collage quilt was created in February.
During the First Friday reception, junior Elijah Haschke reflected on his block: “The theme was love and affection and for mine I have my character I usually use, which is the ghost guy. I knew we were going to put our pieces up, so I might as well show one of my favorite characters I draw and put it in.”
For the third and final quilt students were taught fabric applique techniques.
“We had an assignment to make one out of fabric this time and it was towards the end of year so we had to turn it in on the last day of school,” explained senior Ariana Dahlenburg. “We had no idea what was going to happen with it, we just glued all the pieces together and sent it off and hoped for the best. And now here they are all together and it’s really cool to see for the first time.”
Dvorak said that engagement is an important piece of weaving arts into education and is something that everyone can relate to.
“Something that I believe in as a math teacher is you educate the whole person. What’s amazing about Arts and Humanities is we are interdisciplinary and we are able to connect students on a lot of different levels. I’m not teaching them just about math, I’m teaching them about a lot of different things.”
Raemakers said that art has taught him why education is so important.
“I didn’t have much interest in school before I came here, but we talk a lot about current events and real things that are happening and so that actually makes me want to learn.”
For Dahlenburg, she says that people often overlook art, but it’s built into every single thing and people don’t even realize it.
“I think it is quite important because it’s in pretty much everything we do in all career fields and it’s an important part of expression. It’s also quite valuable to humanity as a whole because it’s everywhere. It’s in the music we have, the bags and shirts people wear and the way people express themselves.”
Updated September 20, 2018