Building Concepts and Creating Art
The process of painting on a three-dimensional, curved canvas is challenging. There are no true parallel lines on an eggshell. The background becomes the foreground when a student turns the egg. Proportions and perspectives distort. Unpredictable textures interfere with the way marker ink adheres to the surface, changing the value of colors. A scratch on the shell can cause an unintended division of space. These predicaments lead to countless problem-solving opportunities. Students learn breathing and sitting techniques to help them focus without becoming frustrated.
As human beings, we are a lot like eggs. We are fragile yet strong. We are bursting with life. We have a multitude of stories to share.
Formerly known as The Egg Painting Workshop, The Egg Painting Compassion Project is a holistic exploration into the world of fragility, strength, and caring. It utilizes many Common Core Standards and addresses standards outlined in the Visual & Performing Arts Framework for California Public Education. During this ten-day program, students use empty eggshells as canvases for personal stories, write about their creations, and participate in professional-style poetry readings in front of engaged audiences. The work is intricate. It requires attention, commitment, resilience, and a great deal of care.
Writing poetry can also be hard. Inviting students to “become” something they’ve created on their eggs and write poems in that point of view helps them empathize with their chosen character, recognize their character’s needs, and translate those needs into a message that might be helpful to the world. In this process students learn that art and language are integrally connected. They are tools that can enhance the way we communicate with others.
Nurturing and kindness are keys to the success of this project. If students feel intimidated, they may pull back and no longer be open to learning or sharing. When they feel safe, are heard, and sense that they matter, they are more able to relate to themselves and each other with compassion, discernment, and care. This enables them to be okay with complex feelings, to respond with confidence, and to extend that same care to classmates. To foster this kind of ethical sensitivity in the classroom requires skill building. The Egg Painting Compassion Project provides opportunities to develop these skills.
Much has been written about rigor in the classroom. It is often associated with making tasks more difficult or instituting rigid rules. We see it as creating a supportive atmosphere where students look forward to class because what they are learning is relevant to their lives. This kind of rigor inspires students to create high quality work because they want to. The Egg Painting Compassion Project integrates behavioral science, storytelling, and the visual and performing arts with the cultivation of mindfulness and compassion to celebrate each student as a whole and vibrant person.