“Inspired by the Great Lakes” features artwork by third- and fourth-graders and QR codes by other Grand Haven Area Public Schools students. The exhibit is on display at the museum now through April 29.
The local works were inspired by the “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle” exhibit, which is also on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St. N.W.
The students’ work will also be displayed at the Grand Haven Community Center from May 9-21.
Living in Grand Haven, Rockman’s work offered itself to a project to explore the Great Lakes, said Martha Alexander, an art teacher at Mary A. White and Rosy Mound elementary schools. Each school had a little more than two weeks to complete their project.
Alexander’s students looked at native species in the Great Lakes before humans changed the lakes and some invasive species were brought into the region by shipping.
After learning more about the Great Lakes, some students were inspired to start their own preservation groups to save animals, Alexander said.
Christian Doctor’s art students at Griffin and Lake Hills elementary schools created a collage of images and text of the Great Lakes, and they arranged the collage to spell out “H.O.M.E.S.” to coordinate with the name of each of the five Great Lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
Peach Plains and Robinson students in Kellene Damian’s art classes studied plastic pollution and ways to eliminate it in the Great Lakes. They built a model of Lake Michigan out of plastic.
Chris Fiore’s art students at Ferry and Voyager schools explored shipping lanes and other states’ interactions with the Great Lakes. Through the project, the kids looked at making maps and shipping lines.
To take the artwork to the next level, students developed interactive QR codes during S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, math) class. After researching, teacher Ian Overway said the students chose how they wanted to share their research information in an interactive way — by narration, pictures, Toontastic 3-D app or Sock Puppets app.
Later this spring, the Grand Haven S.T.E.M. team and students will be working with Grand Haven Township on interactive QR codes, said S.T.E.M. Alex Harsay. The goal of S.T.E.M. is to make students curious and become problem-solvers, Harsay said.
By participating in the project, Damian said she hopes students take away that the Great Lakes are a resource, and that students have an opportunity to grow their interest in lifelong learning.
Grand Haven second-graders also recently had their work displayed at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during the Grand Haven District Day. Last spring, Grand Haven students participated in the museum’s “The Art of Rube Goldberg Interactive Exhibit.”