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Staying Connected with String: AP Art History Installation

By Emily Disman

For the past eleven years, the AP Art History students at High School East have been creating art installations to communicate a message throughout the school community. The Art History students think of works of art that they have learned about in class and use them as an inspiration for their own installation. This year, the message was staying connected and being unified with one another. This idea was inspired by “Two Fridas” by Frida Khalo, which depicts two different parts of Frida’s heritage, her European side and her Mexican side, connected by a string. As a class, we wanted to represent the idea that people of different genders, ethnicities, and races can all come together within our school community.

In order to depict this idea, our class decided to use string to create both a circular canopy and an abstract design on the windows near the main entrance of the school. We used a variety of colors of string and intertwined them in order to convey the idea of how people of different backgrounds can come together and create one unified school. As a class, we also conveyed the idea of connection by creating a string display in the front showcase by the main office. We used different colored string to spell out the word “connect” to further spread our message.

 On January 13, 2017, our class spent the entire day installing the canopy and the abstract window design, and I can honestly say that it was not as easy as we planned. We had to experiment with the limited string we had in order to be successful. We ran into problems. The string kept getting knotted together, and with the limited number of people in our class, finishing before the end of the day was difficult. Thankfully, it ended up working out perfectly.

After working all day, it finally came time to attach the canopy to the ceiling. It took us three whole periods to untangle all of the string and create the canopy that is now hanging outside of the auditorium, but along with the help of Mrs.Utt’s other classes, we were able to put together a colorful and vibrant string display that conveyed the message of connection and unification.

This installation taught me that teamwork is important. Without the help from other art students, our class would have been unsuccessful. Also, it helped me, and hopefully the rest of the school, realize that our school’s diversity is a unique characteristic. As a school, we should stay connected and unified to one another no matter how different we all are because, at the end of the day, we are all T-Birds!

Photos taken by Emily Disman