Students Collaborate, Paint Furniture that Doubles as Art

Students Collaborate, Paint Furniture that Doubles as Art
Shawnee Mission School District

Some members of our community now have some frame-worthy furniture thanks to a collaborative art project completed by Shawnee Mission School District high school students.

Students at Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission Northwest, and Shawnee Mission West painted Adirondack chairs this fall. Their work was eventually placed in an auction hosted by the Lake Quivira Garden Club. Each creation had its own original design completed by a group of painters.

At Shawnee Mission West, students painted a chair inspired by “Portrait of Dora Maar” by Pablo Picasso. Several students in art teacher Melinda Heaton’s seminar class dedicated time to painting the chair.

It was easy to say yes to this project as a student who loves painting, Ky’Ionna Winn, sophomore shared. This unique project helped build a lot of  “teamwork” skills and required a lot of “discussion to get on the same page,” Winn added.

Painters gained a lot of opportunity to build some essential interpersonal skills, Heaton added.

“I encourage them to eliminate the idea of perfection and replace it with improvement,” she shared. “I want them to be open to becoming better.”

The team encouraged one another through challenges, student teacher Aneka Voth expressed.

“When something happens it’s a challenge, not a problem,” Voth said. “We find another approach.”

A team of students at Shawnee Mission Northwest opted to create a beach-like theme for their chair.

“They enjoyed creating art someone will use and enjoy,” teacher Melissa Terryberry added. “It was also fun for them to have the other high schools involved.”

Students at Shawnee Mission North designed a chair with an upholstered look.

Working on the collaborative art process was challenging, but it helped the students learn more about leadership and delegating responsibility, art teacher Stephanie Dalley shared. 

Funds from the chairs support public grounds enhancement. The garden club also partnered with Team Fidelis, a charity that supports veterans with mental illness and works to prevent suicide. 

Any chance for students to see the impact of their art on the world is valuable, Megan Ellis, visual arts coordinator stated.

“I hope the students see the impact and value of art within a community,” Ellis expressed. “Art is an integral part of our society, ingrained in every culture, and students experience this when they take art beyond the classroom.”

Ellis commended the educators who led the project.

“This project went beyond the regular classroom art experience, and it takes the dedication and support of school art teachers who stepped up to lead these student groups to make something like this possible for motivated students,” Ellis added.