A child reaches for a piece of recycled art created by students at Henry County Middle School.
McDONOUGH — The 28 advanced visual arts eighth-graders put their marks on 91 self-portraits — letter-sized images embossed on copper foil, canvas, scratch board and printing paper.
The artwork will be a focal point during Henry County Middle School’s recycled art exhibit and advanced art portraits gallery event Monday.
Melissa Wood is the school’s art teacher. She is helping organize the affair at her own art studio, Unchartered Creativity at 1348 McDonough Place in McDonough.
“It has been a life-time dream of mine to have a large collection to show and in my very own gallery,” said Wood. “With the support from family, friends, co-workers, community representatives and my husband John Wood (who teaches art at Luella High School), I opened Unchartered Creativity to showcase student artwork and give art teachers another avenue to display their student’s talent within the community.”
She said the gallery is being supported by proceeds from art workshops, private parties, camps and donations.
Monday’s event is set from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
It will showcase her students’ collection of recycled soda can, cereal box and book collages. The pieces — made by middle schoolers — date back to 2010 and range in size from 24-by-24 inches to 4-by-4 feet.
Wood said the work was made possible in part because of grant funds awarded by Recycle Bank to create projects that recycle used materials. The school has received about $2,500 for each of the past three years to finance its art projects.
“Our initial goal for writing the grant in 2010 was to support funds in the art classroom and support recycling activities for the City of McDonough’s Summer Youth Camp,” she said. “The grant allowed me to purchase supplies to complete these can collages in our sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classes.”
Wood said the art was so popular that she began allowing the pieces to travel to be displayed at different venues for more people to see. They have been on display at the McDonough City Hall, at the annual Geranium Festival, at the Henry County Board of Education central offices, in the rotunda at the Georgia State Capitol and on front steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
The school earned another $2,500 this year and was awarded the Recycle Bank’s grand prize for the most innovated recycling plan. The school will get a year’s worth of copy paper from Domtar, sustainable paper company based in Montreal, Canada.
She said the students are in the midst of their next project — recycling old, outdated textbooks and creating a wall mural in the school’s media center.
“Without hard work from our art students and for the continued support from McDonough’s City Hall and Republic Service this would not be possible,” said Wood.
Principal Dr. Kimberly Anderson lauded Wood for her work with students.
“I’m proud of the work that Ms. Wood and the students have done,” Anderson said. “I’m excited to see the outcome of their upcoming project.”