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Innovative Art Class Allows Students with Disabilities to Express Themselves Through Sculpture

by Avery Schaeffer, Member of the West Suburban Chaverim

A cohort of students and parents convened at Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, Illinois for an unconventional art class which promoted the concept of art as a communication tool. The clay, at the center of the Wednesday night project, gave students tactile and independent experiences for their creative expressions. Students were presented with cardboard shapes and three-dimensional aluminum foil creations to be covered with clay. There was a wide variety of clay colors, which needed to be conditioned and shaped with the help of a kitchen pasta-making machine. The creations ranged from a miniature guitar made out of aluminum foil to representations of household pets. One student worked with a malleable form of clay which eventually turned into a head and a dog. Karen, a 40-year veteran of the art industry, broke down objects into shapes to render them easier to conceptualize for those not using a pre-designed form. Along with her adaptability to differing skill levels and attention to detail, she helped to create an inclusive, welcoming environment in which the different interpretations of the task were not only welcome but encouraged.

Fri, July 12 2024 6 Tammuz 5784