This fall, 4th through 7th grade teachers at Vestal K-8 School in Northeast Portland worked with The Right Brain Initiative to develop an artist residency that would encourage students to explore their sense of identity through writing and art-making. They decided that working in claymation with artist Sarah Nagy of Young Audiences would allow the students to explore identity, and also to expand upon skills they learned in a previous residency with artist Julie Keefe.
The students began the process by writing autobiographical poetry. They were then divided into groups, and the groups worked together to create a claymation film based on their common interests, such as biking, cooking, dancing, camping, and theater. Each student created a clay avatar and painted boxes to create dioramas within which to set the scene for their film. Nagy helped the students manipulate their avatars to tell their stories, and captured the stories on film. Watching the films, it’s easy to tell that the students’ creative process helped them analyze how their senses are truly engaged when cooking, biking or dancing. They meaningfully connected with themselves, and those selves were very silly.
Here are a few of the short films that we enjoyed:
Check out those moves! See Ms. Bird’s class’ film about dancing!
The spectacular techno music that runs through my head, the noisy squakiness from the bottom of your shoes when it slides on wood.
Look both ways! See Ms. Bennett’s class’ film about biking!
“I know biking. I know it well. Sun in my eyes. Wind in my face”
Best burger in town! See Ms. Finke’s class’ film about cooking!
“I hear bacon sizzling. That smells amazing!”