Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Core Values Inspire Student Art, Community Impact

Values matter. Just ask Crystal Fiocchi, MHS Advanced Visual Arts Teacher in SBISD.

Fiocchi, an educator in SBISD for 12-years, had a vision to support the district education foundation fundraising efforts, while increasing student awareness about the school system’s core values. As a talented artist, Fiocchi did what artist do, she turned an idea into a series of learning - and leading - moments for her students and the larger community.

Under Fiocchi’s inspired instruction, students at Memorial High School worked collaboratively to synthesize their creativity, personal experience and a community ethos into the production of a distinct series of original pieces of art.

Each original design contains five unique representations of the SBISD core values as interpreted by Fiocchi’s student artist. (SBISD Core Values: Every Child, Collective Greatness, Collaborative Spirit, Limitless Curiosity and Moral Compass)

From a star filled sky on the horizon, to the scene of an underwater snorkeling expedition, to a colorful tree spouting palm prints of all nations, an array of imagery and iconography illustrate student analysis of SBISD’s values.

This is the first year the SBEF run will be expanded to include an Artfest and auction with participation from a range of local artists and artisans. All funds from the event and related fundraising sales will go to support student scholarship and education programming in Spring Branch schools.

All designs are slated for fundraising sales as part of the 2017 Spring Branch Education Foundation’s (SBEF) Running for the Arts 5K & Artfest event. Funds raised will support the Fine Arts and Health Fitness programming in SBISD. Posters were recently on display for sale in the SBISD Administration Building located on Campbell Road. Sales will resume on Monday, April 24, at the Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum.  

Like the SBEF event itself, the concept of community greatly influenced Fiocchi and her students in the production of their work.

“I think they (core values) are important to teach, discuss, and reinforce to help build a strong and united community and the arts help add connection and relevance,” said Fiocchi. “Community is where the learning process is rooted. To leverage a collective experience strengths the entire learning process.”

The project’s service learning model also served as a tangible example of what the school system coins “Collective Greatness” under its core values brand, The Spring Branch Way. This mashup of core values and the art of creation was a unique way to create something bigger and better, together for both Fiocchi and her students.

Student Erin Love sums the experience up as a defining moment, “This project definitely does help define for students, and others, SBISD’s goals and values.” In addition to this raised awareness, the exercise of living out the value of Collaborative Spirit in a meaningful way was not lost on student participants.

“Everyone has experiences unique to themselves; to me, someone’s art is a reflection of their experiences. When working alone, there’s only so much one knows but when working together everyone’s experiences combine to make something greater,” said tenth grader Sanjana Menon.

“I think this project definitely raised awareness and interest in SBISD five core values,” said Fiocchi. It made my students think about what these values mean, how to represent them, and how to make them personal.”

For Fiocchi, the most surprising aspect of the project was the amount of work put into the pieces themselves. “It's not a huge shock to see the students being able to work together in making something creative, but the reinforcement of the idea behind collaboration itself is what came as a surprise.” 

Another positive outcome? Creating a sense of bettering school and area community from the student perspective. “I see the districts goals and values as a very positive take on bettering our school and even our community,” said student Julia Boyles, “It was very neat that so many different personalities came together so well and made something so beautiful and inspiring.”

This inspiration is already shaping thinking and planning for current and on-going student community art projects in Fiocchi’s art class.

“The work we did on the values project helped inspire another group collaboration project for the BIG ART DAY, Mustang Love Helping Hands. We worked with our students to form a huge heart of hands to spread the message of love and encouragement to others,” said Fiocchi.

As Fiocchi and her students prepare for their next great art collaboration, and bids tally on SBEF art auction items, the impact of this collaboration is like all truly great works of art, an investment made toward the future. If Fiocchi and her students have anything to say about it, it’s sure to be a bright one.

For more information on how you can support the 2017 Spring Branch Education Foundation’s (SBEF) Running for the Arts 5K & Artfest, click here.


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