Trash to Treasures

Works of art from the Young Artist's Program

“Beaches are not perfect and neither are we, but pets will love us unconditionally.” This quote was written on a beach-themed diorama created by a fifth grader at The Hockaday School. From April 15 to April 24, 2010, works of art by students from fourteen elementary, middle, and high schools in the Dallas area were on display in one of the Museum’s galleries. The students were part of the Young Artist’s Program and created works of art inspired by the Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea exhibition in conjunction with the Museum’s yearly fundraiser, the Art Ball. Every year, the Art Ball provides funding for the DMA’s exhibitions programs and allows for Dallas-area students to create works of art that will be on display in the Museum’s galleries. The works of art were collaborative classroom projects ranging from small dioramas to a huge beach scene with a life-sized mermaid.

A very pet-friendly beach

As an animal lover, I was drawn to the previously mentioned pet-themed beach diorama. The student created a sign for their beach that said, “Pets: All Humans Must be on a Leash.” Dogs and cats ruled this charming scene. The creator of this work had cleverly used corks to construct dogs and cats doing all kinds of beachy activities. There were dogs building sandcastles, cats sunning themselves under beach umbrellas, a pet on a lifeguard post, and even a dog surfing with their human on a leash made from a pipe cleaner.

 While I loved the adorable pet-friendly beach creation, there were many extraordinary dioramas displayed together in this particular gallery of the exhibition. What I liked so much about the Hockaday student artwork was not only were they all very different, but that the dioramas were all created using recycled materials and things found around the home. Students used empty soda cans, cardboard, Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, corks, sand, flip-flops, string, foil, pipe cleaners, and glass beads. I think the one material that most of the students would have had to purchase for this project was moldable clay – my guess is that it was Crayola Model Magic. These types of common household items are accessible for children to use in helping them to express their creativity.

As we near the end of April and as Earth Day activities wind down, there are many great online art-making activities using recycled materials and household items.

Recycled Robot Art Project

Deep Spaces Sparkle shows us how to use juice can toppers, bottle caps, soda can tabs, foil, and corrugated cardboard to make a colorful robot.

Can-Do Robots

Disney’s Family Fun Magazine & Website shares some very clever robots that you can create from tin cans.

Cardboard Box Cottage

A cardboard box, packaging tape, scissors, scraps of fabric, and a glue stick were the only supplies that were used to this adorable cottage on Busy Hands Art.

Recycled Notecards

Homemade Mamas turned their children’s paintings into stationary.

Gather things that have collected in the garage, the kitchen junk drawer, or even your recycle bin and help your children transform trash into treasure!

Posted by: Amanda


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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Children’s art

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