Being a teacher this past year has been difficult, to say the least. But, Michelle Feeny, an eighth-grade art teacher at Fall Creek Junior High, quickly adapted with innovative and sustainable ways to keep her students learning while they were at home by teaching them how to upcycle art.

At first, Michelle arranged for students to pick up art kits that included paint, colored pencils, and markers so students could complete their projects at home. Michelle even drove to students houses to drop off the supplies!

flower power: i am trying ot hsow contrast iwth the different color flowers and I am trying to show how these colors are opposite, but still bring the piece together.
Leaf simplicity: i am trying to show that these leaves from all different trees can still come together in unity, even though they are all different shapes and sizes.

When the class moved from 2D to 3D art, it became harder to provide the students with adequate supplies. This is when Michelle had the class begin using materials that they could find in or around their own homes.

The class started studying the Earth art movement, which uses natural landscape to create art. The students would find leaves, sticks, and flowers in their backyards to create the land art. Students would then photograph the finalized land art and would continue to document it as the elements slowly cleared their creations away.

Michelle had the students use their current circumstance during the pandemic to create motifs that represented what the COVID-19 virus meant to them. The students used items from around their homes and wrote artists statements on how it has impacted them.  

leaves and rocks
leaves and rocks

Throughout the pandemic and beyond, Michelle sees the largest barrier for students and adults to begin the creative process is the mindset is that if they are not an artist, they can’t create. Michelle encourages residents to take advantage of the everyday art that is available around Fishers. From cityscapes to numerous parks, there is abundant art to enjoy in the vibrant city.

Here are additional sustainable art projects you can make with your kids:

  • Kindness Rocks: Paint sayings or draw on rocks then place them throughout your city, neighborhood, or school for others to find.
  • Photography Hunt: Go on a walk and give your kids different items to take pictures of. This could include taking photos of a tree from a different angle or an object with a jagged edge.
  • Recyclable Robots: Use milk jugs, shoe boxes, hangers, cotton balls, or any other items found in your home to create a robot. Once you are done, you can toss the robot into the recycling!
  • Painting with Coffee Grounds: Use coffee grounds and mix them with water to make paintings
  • Lastly, Pinterest is always full of good ideas!

Keep Fishers Beautiful, the City’s annual celebration of volunteerism and sustainability, brings together residents, homeowner’s associations, local businesses, and organizations to support the vibrancy of our City and neighborhoods. This year, you can get involved from the comfort of your own home with ways you can Keep Fishers Beautiful at home, at work, and in your community. Learn more.