Arnold Elementary School
“The Map Project: An Exploration of Self-Identity and Sense of Place”
Arnold Art Specialist: Kimberly Boone
Artist Educator: Owen Buffington
Fourth Grade students at Arnold Elementary School embarked on a very personal journey, reflecting on their neighborhood, and their own sense of “self.” This project encouraged students to evaluate and reflect through an authentic lens, and culminated in a remarkable collection of artwork which included handmade maps of Airpark, portraits, and pinch pots. Students wrote artist statements which thoughtfully reflected on their own process, which often included self-affirmations and positive statements about their abilities to create. At the end of the project, the students attended an opening of their work at the gallery at The Landing. Nearly 150 children saw their work on public display and their sense of pride and wonder was palpable.
During the exhibition, a student approached an administrator and said, “You don’t know what this project means to my family.” When asked to elaborate, the student shared the following. “My grandfather has always been a successful painter. This year my grandma died and he stopped painting. We’ve all been really worried about him. I told him that I have a painting on display at this gallery. I didn’t know how he’d react. He smiled at me and said, ‘I’m so glad there’s a new artist in the family.’”