Collaborative Art Projects

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Students work together to create art for school auctions.

This post is about collaborative sculptures, paintings, murals, and bulletin boards.



Kindergarten

Kindergarten students have been studying color mixing and have worked collaboratively to recreate this very recognizable artwork, "Concentric Circles" by Wassily Kandinsky. Each student has painted one section, 6"x5" with a concentric circle that was assembled into a class mural. There are a total of fourteen squares in this piece measuring 12'"x36" This collaborative work of art was created for the school auction

Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Kadinsky

- mix colors



Supply List

squares on colored card stock paper,

(I used 6x6 colorful card stock squares you can find them HERE

tempera paint

oil pastels

paint brush

Soft Gel Gloss by Golden


When working on a collaborative art project I recommend buying the frame or canvas first! Once you have found the frame or canvas that will work with the project you will know what size to make everything to fit inside. Purchase the frame or canvas first and you can select something in a standard size and most likely you can find a coupon for it too! If you wait to find the perfect frame after you complete the project you will most likely have to custom order the frame or custom build a canvas that fits your project and that will be very expensive!

Each student contributed one concentric square. We used card stock paper because it was thick enough to handle the weight of the paint. I bought it in colors in case the students left sections unfinished. Students started with oil pastels, they colored their circles and about fifteen minutes later we switched to tempera paint to give the project interesting textures and to give little hands a break from coloring.

This year I used a 12"x36" studio quality canvas. I found the canvas first before students painted their squares and then determined what size each students square needed to be to fit the canvas. In order to fit all the squares on the canvas I needed to trim each square to avoid buying or stretching an expensive custom canvas. This 12"x36" canvas was on sale! I used Soft Gel Gloss by Golden to attach the painted squares onto the canvas in a decoupage type application.

This is the process, one square at a time. You apply the Soft Gel Gloss to the back of the painted square and then on top of the painted square.


Using a popsicle stick helps to remove air bubbles and smooth out the surface.


This collaborative Kindergarten Kadinsky from last year was attached to a mat board and then put inside a 18"x24" frame. This class had 12 students and the 6"x6" squares fit perfectly.




First Grade

First grade students worked together to create this collaborative black light aquarium sculpture. Each student painted one fish using neon paint. As students painted I walked around the classroom with a black light so that students could see their fish glowing. I have documented the fish that each student has contributed to the aquarium sculpture. Our black light sculptural aquarium was built inside a shadow box that measures 31"x16"x1.5". The inside of the shadow box was lined with a UV Black Light Strip so that the fish will always glow. This Collaborative art project was created for the school auction.



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art that is designed to glow under a black light



Supply List

Shadow box 31"x16"x1.5".

( I found one on sale at Michaels)

card stock to paint fish on

neon acrylic paints

neon oil pastels

paint brush

styrofoam

spray paint (neon colors for coral)

hot glue

Black light glow aquarium plastic plants

DeepDream Black Light UV Led Strip lights Scotch 3M Heavy-Duty double sided Mounting Tape (the double sided tape that comes with the black light strips is not strong enough!)




Each student painted one fish on a small piece of card stock paper using neon paint. As students painted I walked around the classroom with a black light so that students could see their fish glowing. They were excited to see the effect of the black light on their paintings. The fish really lit up!


Now I had a collection of fish, one from each student to work with.


This is what the fish look like with out the black light and under the black light, big difference!




First the shadow box was taken apart and the inside was lined with the black light strips. The black light strips stayed in place with the heavy duty double sided 3M tape.


The coral for the inside of the tank was glued onto a strip of measured black mat board


Just checking to make sure the coral reef sculpture will fit into the shadow box. Yes, it does!




One at a time the fish were glued into the black background of the aquarium. A few were attached to the coral reef sculpture.



In a dark room -with the black lights on -the aquarium comes to life...the fish really glow!



The collaborative first grade black light aquarium was sold at the school auction for a few hundred dollars!






First grade collaborative Laurel Burch Chest



First grade students worked collaboratively in the style of Laurel Burch creating these colorful painted cats in a garden. Cats, flowers, and leaves were decoupaged onto a wooden chest.



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Laurel Burch


Laurel Burch is famous for painting colorful cats. We were inspired by her famous painting of Cats in the Garden. See her website HERE


Supply List

Wooden chest (I was lucky to find one at the thrift store for $20.)

Colorful card stock papers

Acrylic paint

paint brushes

scissors

Mod Podge

black acrylic paint


Each student painted a colorful cat head with patterns in the style of Laurel Burch. Each student also painted a few flowers and leaves. Cat shapes, flowers, and leaves were pre cut. I painted a few examples to show student.



I needed to keep track of what each student contributed. So I photographed each contribution on black paper.



Now that the cats and the flowers were documented and I knew who contributed which cats and flowers it was time to decoupage.


Decoupage or découpage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto that object. Our object was a wooden chest.


First the chest was painted black. One cat at a time was decoupaged to the chest.



The front, sides, top, and back side of the chest was covered with cats, flowers, and leaves.



The collaborative 1st grade Laurel Burch inspired chest was sold at the school auction for close to $100.




My Community Mural Project


I taught art in Mexico for three years at an elementary school. This collaborative mural project by first grade students represents the city of Pachuca located in the state of Hidalgo, 1.5 hours north of Mexico City, DF.




Second grade collaborative Peter Max mural


Second grade students worked together to create this collaborative Liberty mural in the style of Peter Max. Each student painted one section (some students painted two sections) I have documented the sections that each student has contributed. The finished mural measures 36"x48". This Collaborative art project was created for the school auction!



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Peter Max

Peter Max is a contemporary German-American artist known for using bright colors in his work. Works by Max are associated with the visual arts and culture of the 1960s, particularly pop art! A popular theme in his paintings is The Statue of Liberty. See Peter Max Art HERE


Supply List

Canvas 36"x48"

Acrylic paint

paint brushes

Soft Gel Gloss by Golden

Peter Max Mural Plans found HERE

The Peter Max mural plans were found at artprojectsforkids.org

Thank you Kathy for your amazing mural plans ; )

When working on a collaborative art project I recommend buying the frame or canvas first! Once you have found the frame or canvas that will work with the project you will know what size to make everything to fit inside. If you wait to find the perfect frame after you complete the project you will most likely have to custom order the frame or custom build a canvas that fits your project and that will be very expensive!

Once I found the canvas I knew how big I needed to print each section. The mural sections were printed on card stock so that the paper would be strong enough to hold the wetness of the paint. Don't print the mural sections from an ink jet printer the ink is not permanent. I went to a copy store to run off the mural sections.



Students followed the colors in the mural plan and painted one section each. Students worked together to paint additional sections. When all the sections were painted they were organized in order. This video shows the process of making this collaborative mural.





Second grade collaborative Birds in Trees


This fifteen panel dimensional mural of birds in a tree was created by second grade students for the school auction. Each student painted one 8"x8" canvas. The tree unites all of the panels.



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community


Supply List

23 Canvasses 8"x8"

Acrylic paint

paint brushes

stencils of leaves and flowers

wood glue, nails

wood board for base 24"x40"


I have seen different versions of this collaborative bird mural online and I wanted to give it a try. The Birds in the panels were inspired by the children's book, Birds by Kevin Henkes. WOW! What a great book! It is educational, creative, inquisitive, and the bird illustrations are simply beautiful. Students recreated the brightly colored birds in the story.


This class had 15 students so the mural has 15 sections. I sketched out the shape of the tree making sure to leave plenty of spaces for birds and being careful to make sure that the tree united the panels. After students painted the birds, the tree was painted, and finally the background was carefully painted blending complimentary colors around the birds, I helped with the color blending. leaves and flowers were added with stencils.



The canvases were arranged in order so that the tree branches lined up.

A parent volunteer that has amazing carpentry skills helped to assemble all of the sections onto one piece of wood.


These pictures show the dimension in the panels




Third grade collaborative Cactus Garden


We looked at photographs of cacti and succulents for inspiration.


Third grade students worked with many hand building techniques...pinching, modeling, coil building, slab building, score and slipping. Texture was added using a variety of ceramic tools with an emphasis on resembling the surface quality of cactus. Students mixed glazes to customize colors.



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of cacti

- learn ceramic hand building techniques

- mix glazes to create unique colors


Supply List

low fire stoneware clay

Mayco stroke & coat glazes

small rocks

terra-cotta saucer


Each Student contributed one cactus to make this cactus garden complete. A variety of hand building techniques were use to create these cactus forms. Most cactus sculptures were started by making a pinch pot and turning it upside down. Surface texture was added using a variety of ceramic tools with an emphasis on resembling the surface quality of cactus.



I recommend Mayco Stroke & Coat glazes. They are called the wonder glazes because they are truly wonderful to use. I love this brand because you can mix the underglazes to create custom colors and there are not too many surprises. What I love about this brand the most is the glaze can be applied to wet clay, greenware, bone dry clay, or bisque. These glazes eliminate the need to do a bisque fire. Students glaze wet clay or bone dry clay, I fire it 06 and it's finished! Yes, sometimes clay that is not bisqued is more fragile and that's why I also recommend a jar of Duncan Patch Attach. It's a specialty product, just like a slip but extra sticky and fixes broken greenware before you fire it.


When the ceramic cacti came out of the kiln they were arranged in a large terra-cotta saucer and small white stones were arranged around them. This collaborative ceramic cactus garden is a great way to permanently enjoy cactus, without having to actually take care of them! Available for bidding at the school auction.




Third grade collaborative Matisse mural


Third grade students worked together to create this collaborative Ode to Matisse mural. Each student painted two sections of the mural. I have documented the sections that each student has contributed. Our mural, Ode To Matisse, is inspired by Matisse's later collage works which he called, "drawing with scissors." Our mural incorporates Matisse's popular "cut-out" organic shapes and lots of bright colors. The finished mural measures 27"x40". This Collaborative art project was created for the school auction.



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Matisse


Henri Matisse (31 December 1869 - 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of color and patterns. He was a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. See his work HERE.


Supply List

Frame and mat board 27"x40"

Acrylic paint

paint brushes

Soft Gel Gloss by Golden

Matisse Mural Plans found HERE


The Matisse mural plans were found at artprojectsforkids.org

Thank you Kathy for your amazing mural plans ; )


When working on a collaborative art project I recommend buying the frame or canvas first! Once you have found the frame or canvas that will work with the project you will know what size to make everything fit. Purchase the frame or canvas first and you can select something in a standard size and most likely you can find a coupon for it too! If you wait to find the perfect frame after you complete the project you will most likely have to custom order the frame or custom build a canvas that fits your project and that will be very expensive!


Once I found the canvas I knew how big I needed to print each section. It was necessary to use Photoshop to resize each section of this mural to make sure it would fit perfectly on the 27"x40" canvas. The mural sections were printed on card stock so that the paper would be strong enough to hold the wetness from the paint. Don't print the mural sections from an ink jet printer, the ink is not permeant. I went to a copy store to run off the sections.



Students followed the colors in the mural plan and painted one section each. Students worked together to paint additional sections. When all the sections were painted they were organized in order.



This video shows the process of making this collaborative mural.




Fourth grade collaborative James Rizzi City


Fourth grade students worked together to create this sculptural cityscape in the style of James Rizzi. Each student painted a building with personality. (most students also painted a vehicle.)



Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of James Rizzi

- Create art from recycled materials



James Rizzi's "Take the A train to Harlem" painting inspired our 4th grade collaborative project.

James Rizzi was born in 1950. He studied art in Florida (Gainesville), where he started experimenting with printing, painting and sculpting. Rizzi is famous for his sculptural paintings and he often paints his birthplace New York City. His paintings have bright colors and his buildings have human faces! James Rizzi website


This you must see! James Rizzi designed a city block in Germany! This block is called "Happy Rizzi House." See it HERE


Supply List

cardboard

acrylic paint

assortment of permanent markers

scissors

hot glue

Picture frame (with a wooden backing to build off of.)


To start I measured the buildings (per number of students) to make sure they would all fit into the background.



Students designed and painted their buildings in the style of James Rizzi adding an exciting face. There is one layer of paint and when the paint dries students use permanent markers to draw details on top of the paint.


I have documented the sections that each student has contributed. Here are a few student contributions. This Collaborative art project was created for the school auction.



There is a great book about James Rizzi's 3-D Constructions that I highly recommend as a resource. James Rizzi: 3-D Constructions by Gerrit Henry


By layering the cardboard underneath the buildings and cars I create dimension in the composition. Heres a look underneath one of the cardboard cars.



This video shows the dimension in this collaborative sculptural Rizzi inspired city.





Fourth grade collaborative Cupcake Installation


We looked at photographs of cupcakes for inspiration.

Fourth grade students worked with many hand building techniques...pinching, modeling, coil building, slab building, score & slipping. Texture was added using a variety of ceramic tools with an emphasis on resembling the surface quality of cupcake. Students mixed glazes to customize colors.


This collaborative ceramic cupcake installation will add color to any room and is a great way to permanently enjoy cupcakes, without having to eat them! Available for bidding at the school auction.


Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of cacti

- learn ceramic hand building techniques

- mix glazes to create unique colors


Supply List

low fire stoneware clay

Mayco stroke & coat glazes

silicon cupcake liners for baking

cup cake tray or display stand


Each Student contributed one cupcake to make this installation complete. A variety of hand building techniques were use to create these cupcake forms. Cupcake sculptures were started by making a pinch pot and pressing the pot inside of a silicon cupcake liner to create the lines that look like cup cake wrappers. The top of the cupcakes were created with one long coil that has the look of an ice cream swirl. I documented each cupcake separately.

I recommend Mayco Stroke & Coat glazes. They are called the wonder glazes because they are truly wonderful to use! I love this brand because you can mix the underglazes to create custom colors and there are not too many surprises. Want I love about this brand the most is the glaze can be applied to wet clay, greenware, bone dry clay, or bisque. These glazes eliminate the need to do a bisque fire. Students glaze wet clay or bone dry clay, I fire it 06 and it's finished! Yes, sometimes clay that is not bisque can be more fragile and that's why I also recommend a jar of Duncan Patch Attach. It's a specialty product, just like a slip but extra sticky and fixes broken greenware before you fire it.




Fifth grade collaborative Chihuly Chandelier


Fifth grade students created a collaborative chandelier in the style of Dale Chihuly for the school auction. This Chandelier is fully functional... it lights up!



We looked at many images of Dale Chihuly's chandeliers. Students voted The Fire & Water Chandelier as their favorite. The Fire & Water Chandelier was our inspiration and we worked in the same color scheme.



Dale Chihuly's Fire & Water Chandelier was our inspiration

We watched a fascinating time lapse video of the assembly of The Fire & Water Chandelier on YouTube


Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Chihuly

- Created recycled art

- Use a warm and cool color scheme

Supply List

Brunsta Pendant Lamp Shade from Ikea

Emma cord set

100+ plastic water bottles, plastic soda bottles (we used an assortment.

acrylic paint (warm colors and cool colors)

scissors

Assorted plastic cable ties (for attaching the bottles to the lamp frame)

lightbulb


I wanted our chandelier to be functional I found a lamp shade design that we could build off of at Ikea.


We started by painting over 100 plastic water bottles with acrylic paint. Students designed each bottle however they wanted as long as they were working with the color scheme of The Fire & Water Chandelier and painting only one color family at a time: Warm Colors: Red, yellow, orange, pink or Cool Colors: Blues and purple.


The bottom of the plastic bottles was cut off first. To hold the bottles while painting students often put their hands inside of the bottle while painting.The outside of the bottles were painted.



After the bottles were painted they were cut into spirals. Spiraled bottles were attached to a metal lamp shade with plastic cable ties.



This collection of photographs documents the process of building our Chihuly Chandelier.



This video shows the chandelier with the light off and on. The video was shot before the entire tail of the chandelier was built.



Looking inside of the chandelier gives a good view of how the bottles were attached with cable ties. Yes it's possible to reach inside and change the light bulb!



Lights off and lights on...our chandelier is functional!




COLLABORATIVE SUNFLOWERS


5th grade students worked together to create a collaborative sunflower sculptural painting for the school auction.



Did you know that the last time one of Van Gogh's Sunflower paintings was auctioned (1987) the painting sold for a record price of 39.9 million dollars! Fifth grade students hope to raise a record amount at the school auction this year! This Collaborative Sunflower painting was created for the school Auction, Happy Bidding!


Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Vincent Van Gogh

- Create art with a lot of texture

- Create art from recycled materials


Supply List:

Joint Compound

Plastic utensils

light weight cardboard (cereal boxes)

scissors

acrylic paints

Paint brushes

green paper variety for stems and additional petals

tacky glue or hot glue

Soft Gel Gloss by Golden


Van Gogh was known for his thick application of paint, called impasto. An Italian word for “paste” or “mixture”, impasto is used to describe a painting technique where paint is laid on so thickly that the texture of brush strokes and palette knife are clearly visible. See Vincent Van Gogh's famous Sunflower seriess HERE.


Students used joint compound to build the texture of their Sunflowers. Each student contributed a textured/painted Sunflower. Look at the incredible texture!




Some students also contributed leaves.

I have documented the process and the sections that each student created.



When working on a collaborative art project I recommend buying the frame first! Once you have found the frame that will work with the project you will know what size to make everything to fit inside of the frame. When I saw this frame in the store I knew it would be perfect for this sunflower collaborative art project! Another perfect feature of this frame was it came with a piece of wood behind the glass. I needed to pop the glass out which was harder than it sounds because the glass was actually glued to the frame. Once the glass was out I had a board to build off of and I knew what size to make the vase and what size to make the sunflowers. Once I had the frame the project came together! When you purchase the frame first (you are selecting something in a standard size) usually you can find a coupon for it too. If you wait to find the perfect frame after your collaborative art project is finished you will most likely have to custom order the frame that fits your project and that will be very expensive!


This video shows the process of making this collaborative Sculpted Sunflower



Kelsey Montague-Interactive Collaborative Mural


“What lifts you?”

International street artist, Kelsey Montague, began a “What Lifts You” campaign to provide people with the opportunity to share what inspires them.  She chose wings, separated with a space for each individual to stand.

Special thanks to All the student artists who contributed each feather.

I collected 80+ feathers. Here are a few... Each feather is unique.


Kelsey Montague believes that art should not be separated from the human experience, but that the human experience should have a hand in creating the art itself!

This is one of Kelsey's larger than life interactive murals

...and it's being interacted with at this moment!

Street art is becoming very popular in the art world. What I love about street art is that it is accessible to everyone. Kelsey Montague has taken her street art to the next level by making it interactive. She's also inspired people to think about #whatliftsyou.


I love everything about Kelsey's murals: the beauty, the message and the interaction! 


Kelsey has painted large scale, interactive street murals in six countries on three continents. Each mural has provided the opportunity for thousands of people to become living works of art. Participants are invited to step in to the artwork, explore what inspires them, and post pictures on social media under the Instagram hashtag #whatliftsyou.

Kelsey’s art has been featured by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Mashable, and MTV, as well as seen on Instagram accounts of Taylor Swift and Vanessa Hudgens. Click HERE to see her website.


Learning Goals:

I can...

- Work collaboratively with others to create art for my school community

- Create art in the style of Kelsey Montague

- Create an interactive mural for my school


Supply List:

3"x18" poster paper

feather templates (optional

magic markers

scissors

hot glue (teacher only)

bulletin board paper


Thank you Cassie Stephens for your Kelsey Montague Inspired art lesson.

You can find Cassie's art lesson HERE.


Every student created one feather to add to the school wings. Feather shapes were drawn on 3"x18" paper. Feathers templates were available and they were good to have weather or not students used them because it helped to create all feather about the same size. The feathers were colored with markers. We worked on feather designs most of the school year (when art projects were finished students would continue on their feathers.) In the Spring when all the feathers were designed the mural was built.


Building the wings.

I built the wings on bulletin board paper. Two wing shapes were cut out at the same time so that I could build them as evenly as possible. I attempted to create symmetrical wings!


I recommend Kelsey's book," What Lifts You: Uplifting Designs to Color & Create." Find it HERE All the wing illustrations in this book helped me (a lot) to design our wings!


Students loved the experience of interacting with the mural.This interactive/collaborative mural bought our school community together. Every morning during "drop off" students and parents stopped for a moment to become part of the art. Students also enjoyed the challenge of finding the feathers that they created inside of the wings, it was an interactive I spy treasure hunt!


Students were excited to discover that one of Kelsey Montague's murals is located only a few miles from our school! Students were so excited to tell me they found Kelsey's mural...this mural was not the easiest to find. It's in an alley with a parking garage on one side.


In September 2017 Kelsey Montague painted a wing mural in Bethesda, Maryland. Read about the Bethesda mural HERE.


Kelsey Montague's Bethesda Row Mural







Large Scale Murals



Mural Project

Working with two hundred sixth graders, divided into groups of twenty five. Eight murals were completed. Prints of famous paintings were cut into small squares and each student was assigned to paint one or two squares. Students used a grid method to keep their sections of the paintings in proportion. The famous painting remained a mystery until all squares were painted and the pieces were assembled. Each mural is approximately five feet by six feet and is on permanent collection at The Escuela Americana, school library, in Pachuca, Mexico.




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