Middle school students land art exhibit at airport

Middle school students land art exhibit at airport
Julia Fister, Oceanside Museum of Art director of education, in Studio O. Students created art at the museum before they took a bus ride to see their artwork on display at the airport. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Artwork of Jefferson Middle School students prominently decorates a wall near the No. 2 baggage claim area at the San Diego International Airport.

Jefferson Middle School students competed against other schools in San Diego County to have a one-year exhibit of their artwork at the airport.

The airport is upgrading travelers’ experience by displaying local artwork on its walls, and has one wall dedicated to high-quality student art.

The collaborative art piece by 34 Jefferson Middle School students represents how students view art, science and technology in their everyday life.

The artwork is a comprised of dozens of hand-painted canvases that are quilted together. Each square within the quilt is created by an individual student.

In the center of the art quilt is an eye. Other squares have images of a microscope, camera and magnifying glass to represent different ways of looking at things.

Students’ interpretations of the theme of art, science and technology varied.

“One boy painted a baseball diamond,” Julia Fister, Oceanside Museum of Art director of education, said. “He said there is a lot of science involved in playing baseball.”

Oceanside Museum of Art paired up with the Jefferson Middle School advanced art class to enter the students’ artwork in the competition.

The museum furnished students with supplies and mentored the class through the art process.

“Our role was supporting them, and providing materials,” Fister said.

“They came up with critical thinking.”

The art project engaged students in self-expression and problem solving.

“Art does inspire imagination, and helps critical thinking in every single subject,” Fister said.

On May 7, all 34 students and their art teacher Linda Kallas met at the museum to create art and take a bus ride down to the airport to see their work on display.

At the airport students got VIP treatment. Their bus was allowed to park and wait curbside, and a cookies and punch reception was set up for their arrival.

Students were impressed to see their artwork on prominent display.

What also caught their attention was that airport visitors took interest and photographed their work.

For some students it was their first time at the airport.

“They got 50 yards away from the exhibit and ran (to see it),” Fister said.

“They were absolutely thrilled.

“They had an artists’ reception on their scale. Passengers were taking pictures of their work. One passenger asked to buy a piece.”

Fister said the students realized they had created something wonderful.

The museum also works with fifth-grade students.

It holds the ArtQuest program that invites Oceanside fifth-grade classes to take a field trip to the museum for a kid oriented tour, and then create an art project related to the main exhibit.

Fifteen Oceanside schools participate in the program.

The goal is to introduce students to the museum and provide them an interactive experience. Essentially the program breaks down the wall between children and fine art.

Art activities take place in Studio O located on the museum’s basement floor. Children and adult art classes are also held in the studio.


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