Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the Art Room: Kelsey Montague-Inspired Mural

Ohhhh, y'all. I'm so excited about this collaborative mural that started out as a sub plan. Allow me to share with you our What Lifts You mural! That sweet face above is my assistant principal's son, Carson. 
And here's his sweet mama! Her pose makes me so happy and excited about this project. Lemme tell you all about our inspiration. 
Street art is becoming very popular in the art world. What I love about it is that it is accessible to everyone. Kelsey Montague has taken her street art to the next level by making it interactive. She's also inspired folks to think about #whatliftsyou. I love everything about Kelsey's murals: the beauty, the message and the interaction. 
She recently created a street mural in Nashville! The most amazing thing is that her murals are created in paint pens. That's right. Tons of paint pens, y'all. Time to invest in some stock. 
I wanted each of my students to contribute to the mural. Knowing that I was going to be out for a couple of days, I created a simple sub video that introduced my kids to Kelsey, got them reviewing and applying the elements of art and kept them creating. I was THRILLED to come back to school to these beauties!

Because of my 30 minute class time for my younger students, many did not finish in one class. So our first order of business when I returned was for the feathers to get finished and cut out. My early finishers then began working on the patterned papers that would also contribute to the wings. 
I love having the kids create giant sheets of patterned papers. I just throw a huge piece of bulletin board paper onto the table. Sometimes, I'll ask the kids to tell me a pattern or shape they'd like to repeat...and then tell them to go for it. Other times, I'll have a pattern started for them. You can see examples of murals with patterned papers here in our Dot Day project, in this winter collaborative, in this Village of Kindness project and in this Rousseau-inspired tiger mural
The left over papers are going to come in handy this week as we also complete our You Be You mural.
I really wanted the mural up by Monday because we are starting our Growth Mindsets in the art room then. More on that soon (including a book club, stay tuned!). That being said, I did have to hustle to get it complete. I stayed after school on Thursday taping four 12' sheets of bulletin board paper together for the black background. Then, in chalk, I lightly drew the general shape of the tip of the wing. 
Then I just started playing. I knew that I wanted their wings to be broken up a bit by the patterned papers but I wasn't sure how. Once I got a general idea, I started to hot glue things in place. 
I arrived at school at 6am on Friday morning because I was so excited to get it complete and up on the wall! I tacked down just the top of the papers so that I could lift the paper and slide the feathers underneath. I have about 400 students. Not all feathers are complete and up...but most are. I left room on the left side of the wing to add the final feathers. Once everything was glued, I outlined the top of the wing in white paint. I also added white outlines to the patterned papers. 
Back to that book I mentioned. The premise of the book is getting the kids to think beyond their "fixed" mindset that they can't do something...and change that thought into believing that they can.  Such a powerful message, don't you think? To kick things off, during art class, each of my students (as well as faculty and staff, I hope!) will get their photo taken in front of the mural. They will also write about what lifts them as that's the big idea behind Kelsey's murals. Keeping that positivity in mind, we will focus on our growth mindset. I will be sharing more on that lesson VERY soon! 
 But for now, let's get closer to these wings. 
 I only glued the "quill" of the feather down so that the feathers would have a ruffly texture to them. 
When I snap the photos next week, my husband suggested taping an X on the floor so the kids would know where to stand. Such a smart dude. 
 I'm super stoked! This was finally hung in the afternoon on Friday when my specials team buddies were free to help me hold it up and glue it to the wall. 
 To give you an idea on size. The photos I take of the kids will be hung along the wall beside the wings. 
 As soon as the wings were up, folks were ready to have their photos taken! Here is my friend Kiera who you might know as Cleopatra
My principal's sweet son, Ashton! 
 One of our P.E. teachers who you might know as King Tut (as well as Frida and Grant Wood, ha!). 
 My awesome principal and her sweet kiddos. I am super lucky to have the most supportive admins in the land. 
 Dawww, that face!
Our super enrichment teacher who is always kind enough to let me use this wall outside of her room...thank you, Ashley!
Y'all know I had to join in on the fun. BIG shout out to Kelsey Montague for the inspiration and my special area friends for helping me hang this beast. All y'all are what lifts me!
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  1. Jane Langley9/25/2016

    What a brilliant collaborative piece! Such an inspiration to all of us out in blog land!!! Amazing!

  2. I absolutely LOVE this idea! We are doing Growth Mindset as well and would love to implement this lesson and collaborate with the staff and students!!! Thank you! Kuddos to you for being so amazing!

  3. I love every single thing about this!
    Wonderful & fabulous!

    1. WOW! This is beautiful and truly inspirational. I would love to try this with my kids at school - thank you for continually sharing and inspiring :-)

  4. Anonymous9/26/2016

    Everything came together so well! You should be beaming! To think a sub-plan could become this! Well done!-M3

  5. You had me at hello!! What an awesome mural & I love the inspirational aspect!! I read this post when I got to school this morning & instantly changed my lesson plans to do the mural instead :)

  6. Hi Cassie
    I showed your beautiful wings to our first grade teachers. We are going to do the project with science and language tie ins! Our first graders are studying flight. We are going to look at diagrams/photos of actual bird wings and create the individual feathers just like real birds. For language, we are talking about how one word - lift - can have two different meanings, in terms of flight and in terms of spirit or mood. For community building, We will exhibit the project in November at our evening exhibition and have the parents add additional feathers. Thanks for a super project and helpful videos! -Rina
    P.S. I had my photo taken in front of the Kelsey Montague mural last summer! Bonus!

  7. Really Amazing and Innovative Idea...!!! I like this Idea. All the pictures make me happy and excited. I will try to do this atleast once. Thank you Kelsey for being such wonderful...

  8. I wish I'd had an art teacher like you when I was at school. I love number 22, such a sweet little face.

  9. I am definitely going to do this! Our school mascot is a hawk and this year's theme is 'Rise Above,' so this will work perfectly!!!! Did this work well with Kinder too? I may to to have a backup plan for my sub since our classes are 50 minutes long.

  10. Hi Cassie,
    I'm doing your project starting Monday with 4th and 5th. They took a look at your images and they are sooo excited to get going on this. Also, I shared it with 2 of our district Art Specialists. So this is spreading FAST. Thanks to you so many of our students around the country are getting to express themselves in such a positive way. My principal wants to do this for the staff too.

  11. Anonymous10/03/2016

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I saw one of her works on Instagram a few months ago and have been dreaming of how to incorporate this with our students! This is lovely!

  12. Barbara Martinez C10/04/2016

    I am definitely doing this, tweaking it a bit to fit my needs. Our school mascot is an Eagle, so the wings will be Eagle wings. Also, the artist I will be using as inspiration is Mexican sculptor Jorge Marin, whose artwork "Wings of Mexico" is displayed various parts of the world (Mexico City, Denver, Los Angeles, Germany, Israel, China, Hong Kong). Our mural will be titled "Wings of a Thankful Eagle" as it will be displayed during the month of November, in which our school's monthly value is Gratitude, so each student will decorate his/her feather focusing on one thing he/she is grateful for.
    Thanks so much for being so open and willing to share your lesson plans! ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  13. You mentioned that when this was done you glued it to the wall....Did you really glue it to the wall and if so how do you do that without damaging the wall? I always have problems with collaborative projects falling off the wall because they are so big....

  14. Anonymous1/20/2017

    I have the same question of NicC on 12/27. I would love to know the answer because our school is almost finished with their wings.

  15. Didn`t expect to see this king of mural when i was searching online! Really cool idea. Why didn`t you sew it but used glue?

  16. Anonymous5/26/2017

    What an absolute gem of a piece-thank you for sharing your ideas!

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  18. OH MY GOSH!! This is definitely going to be a part of my lesson plans next year! I can imagine starting the year off with it and then having the wings up in the hall for a while (or at least as long as it survives). Thank you for a project that is "heavenly"

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  21. I LOVE This project! I'm going to start of my year with this mural. What size paper did you give the student's for their leaves? Thank you!!

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  24. Do you happen to have your feather template handy?

  25. I absolutely love everything you do in your classroom, but this might be my favorite! Randomly...I just created a "what lifts you up" mural at my school before I even saw this. I love love love all the colors, though, and wish I had thought of something like this for feathers. We did our's as an end of the year, what to do with the last class...kind of thing and then put it up the first week of school this year. I wish I could figure out how to attach a photo of it for you. :) But, alas...

  26. Hi Cassie,
    Here is my blog post about the wings my students created after looking at yours and Kelsey Montague's. They have been up for about three weeks or so now and remain utterly untouched even though lots of students and families have taken photos of them. They are just so proud of their work! Thanks for your continuing inspiration.

  27. Anonymous7/29/2019

    I am AWESTRUCK by this and many of the projects on your blog. My school is "Holy Angels" . Guess who's going to be using the wings project for the school art festival!


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