Celebrating Student-Led Art at Mineola Public Schools – Digital Promise

Celebrating Student-Led Art at Mineola Public Schools

April 2, 2024 | By


YouthMADE stands for Youth Making, Activism, Art, and Design in Education, representing a broad spectrum of youth-led creativity and innovation. At Mineola Public Schools in New York, students shared their passion for mixed media and performing arts at the YouthMADE Showcase—a virtual exhibition that highlighted the voices and projects from students at districts within the League of Innovative Schools—at Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools convening.

Creating an art gallery for and by students

Supported by art teacher Andrea Antonelli, seventh grade students, Adrienne, Alex, Amaya, Ariya, Jayden, Nikki, Peter, and Prashasti created and installed a student-led art gallery. The gallery will be curated and maintained by student members of the Art Clubs and National Junior Art Honor Society.

The students created the frames, signs, and other items for the gallery, and curated the artwork made by students. “The goal is to create a space in the building to highlight the award-winning artwork made by students, and display it in the most creative way possible,” Andrea said.

“This project started as a way to showcase student artwork in a creative way, using art materials and technology all from our middle school art and fab lab classrooms. Artwork was printed on a high-quality vinyl printer, frames were created with cardboard construction techniques, and signs and labels for the artwork were created both by hand and with the use of an electronic paper cutting machine, the Cricut. Students have been part of every step of the initial process, including deciding on a name for the art gallery. It has then grown to become a community service project for the National Junior Art Honor Society members, who have taken the lead in designing, creating and curating the artwork and frames for the museum,” Andrea said.

A student’s hands craft a cardboard frame.

A student creates a frame for the gallery.

Four cardboard frames each detailed with different stylings.

The students’ frames for the gallery.

Student voice in performing and mixed media arts

In addition to the group project, students at Mineola shared their individual projects, expressing themes and topics important to them. Joseph, a high school senior, wrote a play about a future U.S. president navigating a pandemic 45 years in the future; seventh grade student Prashasti created a mixed media piece about the path to success; and seventh grade student Christian created a digital art piece about becoming an artist.

“The reason why I wrote Bunker was because I believe that politics has strayed so far from what it was created for. Politicians have a duty to protect citizens and do the right thing, no matter how that may affect their approval rating. I’m also a firm believer that comedy is the solution to all problems […] Good stories challenge the status quo, overcome obstacles, and open people’s minds […] Bunker attacks what has become the status quo in American politics, but does it within a palatable medium. It makes people laugh, but even more importantly it asks so many questions.” – Joseph P., supported by music teacher Aislinn Oliveri.

“My project is a mix media artwork about the journey leading to success. In today’s modern world, most young minds are dedicated to becoming successful in life and making themselves and their loved ones proud, including myself. My artwork shows this through a colorful and slightly abstract way. I have a path with vehicles going down it to success while some are taking the exit as well. I also have a few collage parts on my path from scrap paper.” – Prashasti H., supported by teacher Andrea Antonelli.

A girl looks at her future self in the mirror. The text reads “Don’t give up on your dreams because it could all lead to something beautiful.”

“A young girl wants to grow up to be an artist. She looks into a mirror and sees her older self being successful. This confirms that her fears did not control her and she is exactly where she wanted to be.” – Christian W., supported by art teacher Jennifer Vavaro.

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