Students make campaign art

Published 1:12 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

Vice Presidential Debate programming continues to affect the education of not only Longwood University students, but also students from Fuqua School and Prince Edward County Public Schools.

During two Fridays in October, middle and high school students from the two systems went on field trips to Longwood University. During the trips, students were introduced to a political conversation through art.

A Fuqua Middle School student works on a relief printing block.

A Fuqua Middle School student works on a relief printing block.

The program was two-fold with half of the day being spent in the classroom creating politically themed artwork and the other half at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA).

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While at the LCVA, Jacqueline Jardine Wall School Programs Educator Mindy Pierson led the students through the museum’s most recent exhibition: “Citizens and Leaders: A Century of Iconic Presidential Campaign Photography by The Associated Press

During the tour, students learned about how campaign photography has changed during the past 100 years.

Longwood pre-service art education students taught the remainder of the lesson under the supervision of Kelly Nelson, a printmaking and art education professor.

Nelson said the program was funded through the Vice Presidential Debate Initiative.

“Longwood had monies set aside for community outreach,” she said.

She requested funds for the art supplies and lunch.

Her art education students collaborated to create and teach the workshops.

“In total, Longwood University, the LCVA, Longwood art education pre-service students and PEC and Fuqua art teachers made it possible,” Nelson said.

Longwood student Cori Riggott-O’Leary taught a screen printing workshop for Prince Edward Middle School. She helped students create their own screen printed T-shirts using embroidery hoops, sheer curtain, modge podge and ink.

Each of the shirts used political propaganda in a fun way: Students created a design for someone they would want to be president. Students made shirts for Harry Potter, “A” from Pretty Little Liars, gummy bears, the Illuminati, a teddy bear, Minnie Mouse and more.

She said students benefitted from the experience because they wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to screen print until later on in their art curriculum.

“This offered them a no-pressure opportunity to become familiar with the process, vocabulary and history without having to worry about a grade just yet,” Rigott-O’Leary explained.

Meanwhile the Longwood students benefitted equally from the program, she said.

“The ability to see what it is like (to teach) first-hand is incredibly important to deciding if this is really the career path for them,” she said.

The program was equally beneficial for university students who are far enough along in their education to have had classroom experiences, but might not have worked with particular age groups as much. This gave them the opportunity to determine which grade levels they may want to work with in the future, Riggott-O’Leary said.

“While it was after our time in the spotlight, it was still a great opportunity for community youth to become involved in the larger political scene of our country,” she said.