For John Marshall High School students, art is not limited to a painting on a wall, but can completely transform the experience of a space.
Several classes at John Marshall are participating in "The Space I'm In," a collaborative project in conjunction with the Mattress Factory art museum in Pittsburgh, Pa. and West Liberty University, designed to educate students about installation art and the element of space.
According to art teacher Tabetha Morgan, installation art is when an artist uses a whole space - such as a room - to create a multisensory experience. Students have spent the past few months creating installation projects viewers experiencing by walking through or around the piece.
Photo by Sarah Harmon/John Marshall High School students Megan Mc-Kitrick, left, and Emily Miller paint a mural for an installation art project depicting the Holocaust.
Morgan said students in five subjects, including math, history, science, health and yearbook, designed and created an installation piece to be put in their classroom that somehow incorporated the subject.
Additionally, each classroom was divided into four or five groups which each submitted a business proposal for their installation idea with material costs and potential benefits and problems with the piece. The teacher then chose the best idea of the group.
For example, Morgan said, students in the science class have created a jungle ecosystem in the science classroom, which displays a waterfall and a tree made of plaster, a mural of natural plant life and several plants.
"It's a great way to learn group work and collaboration with teachers," Morgan said. "They learn that art is not just in art class, but can be in other classrooms."
Business teacher Megan Pintus added the formal proposals helped students learn the formal aspects of art and the professionalism an artist must display when proposing a piece.
Pintus said this point was displayed during the students' trip to the Mattress Factory this year when they talked to the museum owner about the business of running an art museum.