Homer High School is taking an artistic approach to difficulties faced by students. Several pieces of installation art can be seen around the school — from a white board where students wrote their aspirations to a slew of insults covering the walls of a stairwell.
Art teacher Alayne Tetor assigned students to create artwork that would resonate with their peers. Two groups of students tackled issues that are being discussed on a national scale — bullying and mental health — by creating thought-provoking visuals.
“The students came up with those specific topics on their own, it was completely open, they just had to think about the space they were going to use, the materials they were going to use and then most importantly the message that they wanted to convey,” Tetor said.
“They were supposed to create some kind of sensation, They were supposed to get people thinking and talking. … People stop and look at it and they’re thinking. People get kind of quiet around it because there’s a lot going on that they don’t know how to express, but its good to see it out there.”
On the left wall of the commons, a black rectangle of construction paper displays smooth and crumpled sheets of printer paper. Once perfectly white and pristine, the piece shows the paper becoming increasingly more crumpled and dark, and then smoothing out again slowly toward the end.
The stages are marked: happiness, breaking down, hiding it, depression, suicidal, self-harm, coming out, talking about it, forgiveness, acceptance, survival. The last paper, survival, is nearly flat again but still bears the rips and colors picked up from its rough journey. Created by senior Jennamarie Super and freshmen Josaphine Reyes, Meghan Deaver, Breck Clifford and Katerina Temple, the piece also features a reminder about the harms of bullying.
The piece on bullying takes over a stairway with a reminder that words really can hurt. Lining the walls along the stairs are notecards with insults and names written on them, illustrating the power of a constant stream of negative words.
A poster in between the streams of words read “Today is the day to be the hero someone needs.” Sophomore Glikeria Kuznetsov, senior Sierra Deloach and freshman Judith Stewart created the piece and are responsible for the colorful variety of mean words.
“They just starting thinking about a bunch of insults off the top of their head, they were Googling insults, every thing they could do to come up with them. I came up with some insults myself,” Tetor said.
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.