March 2016…Students displayed their artistic talents while delivering a message about the importance of dental health as part of Healthy NewsWorks’ Healthy Smiles poster contest.
Teachers at participating schools introduced the project in art class, as part of lessons on combining images and text to create compelling and informative pieces. Some students chose to complete their work at home for submission in the contest.
Josh Bucolo, art specialist at Highland Park Elementary School, said art helps reinforce information learned in other subjects—in this case, important lessons about dental health. As Priscilla Hopkins, art teacher at William Cramp Elementary School, described it, “By participating in this poster contest, students learned that they have valuable information to share about how to care for teeth, and they can use this information to help others.”
Students not only learned about dental health, they discovered how to use visual design to effectively convey a message. Walter Myrick, art teacher at AMY Northwest School, said the project allowed students to apply their skills to create original works of art on a particular theme.
Many of the art teachers involved said they appreciated how the project allowed students to be creative, showcase their individual styles, and incorporate humor. “My students learned how to illustrate an idea based on an open-ended concept,” said Patrick Humbert, art teacher at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy. “It’s not often students are challenged to create their own unique idea without rigid guidelines, and this is a great opportunity to expose the students at a young age to the challenges of being an artist.” Students throughout the schools rose to this challenge, finding creative ways to convey information about dental health through their poster designs.
Students also enjoyed the creative freedom this project afforded. Marlene Adler, art teacher at La Salle Academy, said students liked being able to choose their imagery and decide how to address the topic of dental health. Said Mr. Bucolo, “Student voice and creative choice are always my primary concern, and I’m glad to see the artists involved took the initiative to create responses as diverse and colorful as their personalities. It’s exciting to help our students build their own individual style in the art room and then to see them use those tools to tackle a self-led or individual project they complete at home.”
The winners of the Healthy Smiles poster contest will be announced in April 2016.
—By Adele Thornton, Healthy NewsWorks volunteer