Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Spring Branch ISD students create art from recycled materials


To commemorate America Recycles Day (Nov. 15), students in the district contributed to the growing national recycling/reusing trend by creating beauty from what would otherwise become trash. 

Spring Oaks Middle School students in Shelley Smolen’s art classes transformed cardboard paper towel and toilet paper tubes, as well as old textbooks, into 3D mandala designs and learning that almost anything can be recycled-reused into art.

A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the rate of recycling in the U.S. has increased from six percent in 1960 to a current rate of 32 percent.

Other examples of art projects created by Spring Branch ISD students using recycled supplies include:

  • Stratford High School students were challenged to create album cover collages from recycled materials. In a nod to the Mexican Día de los Muertos traditions, art teacher Diane Rios’ sculpture class students created papier mâché pieces with recycled newspaper and books, imitating the imagery of ‘sugar skulls.’ 
  • Wilchester Elementary’s art teacher, Stephanie Walton, used a children’s book, "An Artist’s America" by artist Michael Albertto, to inspire 5th grade students to deconstruct their favorite cereal boxes into a type of pop art called “CEREAL-ISM,” a twist on the term surrealism.  Like mosaic art, the students cut the cardboard cereal boxes into smaller pieces of different shapes and sizes and placed them onto another part of the box leaving only small gaps between them.
  • Madeline Swanson, art teacher at Nottingham Elementary, inspired her young students to collaborate to make colorful trees from toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, beads and pastels. The trees are mounted in recycled containers, and have been placed as artful decor in the school’s library. The inspiration for the multicolor and fantastical trees at Nottingham came from photos of trees wrapped in decorative cloth and yarn bands on a street in Seoul, Korea.

We celebrate the Limitless Curiosity of Spring Branch ISD art teachers and their students, and hope these beautiful creations will inspire you to see new possibilities in the recycle bin!