A ghoulish collaboration between Spring Branch schools has created a masterful collection of student artwork currently on display at The Guthrie Center through Monday, November 5.
This year’s show marks the third that art educators from The Guthrie Center and Westwood Elementary have come together to create a shared body of artwork. Ella Park, graphic design teacher at The Guthrie Center, and Ashley Hammonds, art teacher at Westwood Elementary, led over 90 student participants on their journey to The Monster Project.
The idea came from Behance.com. Behance, part of the Adobe collection of tools and software, is an online platform for professionals to showcase and discover creative work. The Monster Project become a national movement of sorts, with artists of all skill levels supporting the work. Seeing examples inspired both educators to challenge their students to get creative and deliver on their own body of work.
"Collaborating with the Guthrie Center gives emerging artists a chance to see what is available to them artistically, educationally, and professionally," said Hammonds.
The project features artwork produced by elementary students that is then reimagined by more advanced artists. At the heart of the project is the desire of artists of all ages to recognize the power of imagination and to encourage one another to pursue their creative potential. The project also provided students with an opportunity to explore how a professional online showcase worked.
“All my students were involved,” said Guthrie’s Park. “We wanted to work with the entire second grade this year – everyone was included."
“Collaboration happens on several levels. It’s not about copying the original image. It’s about taking it to the next level and being inspired by features and the essence of the work. Students helped each other.”
Aiden, a student at The Guthrie Center, found that having an end goal helped to inspire a deeper understanding of the tools and process. “In this project I found myself learning and understanding many applications in Illustrator that I would not have learned otherwise,” said Shine.
“I’m asking how can I make my art do this…as opposed to simply learning skills because someone told me it is necessary to be able to use Illustrator.”
Being able to reimage a design or take a concept to the next level is a real-world skill Park’s graphic design students will need once they enter the workforce after graduation.
The project also forged connects between current Career and Technology students and emerging district artists.
Connecting students as young as second grade to a career pathway through the collaboration was something that inspired Westwood’s Hammonds.
“The Monster Project gives students, who are still learning how art might play a part in their lives, a chance to see one of the many directions they can take both educationally and career-wise,” said Hammonds. "I love this project! I’ve even been encouraged to sit down and make my own monster art because an art teacher should always be a model for his or her students."
Later this month Guthrie students will take a trip across the street to visit Westwood Elementary and their project counterparts. During the visit, Guthrie artists will have time to present the reimagined designs. Following the event, Westwood Library will display the complete body of student artwork.
“The Monster Project wasn’t just about drawing monsters on the computer. I was developing skills,” said Guthrie student Chris Park.
This development of skills is at the heart of both Hammonds and Park’s collective work as educators.
If the pieces in The Monster Project are any indication, it’s the start of something beautiful for the students at Westwood and The Guthrie Center.
- For more information about the show, contact: ella.Park@springbranchisd.com
- For more information about The Monster Project, visit: https://themonsterproject.org