A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

LTMS class adds famous artwork to ceiling tiles; Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel art is inspiration

Inspired by Michelangelo’s 16th-century efforts in the Sistine Chapel, students have replicated a handful of masterpieces to adorn ceiling tiles in their art room at Lexington Traditional Magnet School.

The seventh- and eighth-graders divided into small groups for this class project (provided photos).

The seventh- and eighth-graders, who divided into small groups, chose to spotlight such pieces as Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory,” Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.”

Jaime Giger, who is in her second year as visual art teacher at LTMS, introduced the project as one popular with her former students in Missouri, South Dakota and China. The LTMS classmates, all of whom are in the school’s new Visual Arts Pathway program, were excited, too. They signed the back of the tiles and photographed the artwork for their portfolios and to share with their families.

“We created an installation for the building so the whole community could see,” Giger said. “The students feel they have a sense of belonging with this group and will always be a part of LTMS by these tiles going back into the ceiling.”

Gesso provided a canvas-like surface for the acrylic paints.

Her students spent seven class periods on this project, which culminated after Spring Break. Initially, they pored over art magazines and books about famous artists throughout history.

Through their research, seventh-grader Chanaeya Beatty and her team selected “0 through 9” by Jasper Johns, who was known for painting numbers. “It’s very colorful, and it’s big. I like how he drew it,” said Chanaeya, who tried to copy the artist’s brush strokes. “It’s hard to replicate because there’s so many colors and so much blending. Each has a certain box, and we had to get the measurements right.”

Because proportion was key to the art’s integrity, the students used math and grid skills to transfer each 8½ x 11-inch drawing onto a 2×3-foot ceiling tile. They also used technology, enlarging images on their Chromebooks to focus on details such as Georgia O’Keefe’s sunflower seeds.

One group picked Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Summer Days” because of how the animal skull and Southwestern flowers stand out against the plain background.

During preparation, students spackled the tiles and applied gesso for a canvas-like surface. They also took turns serving as team leader, mixing the acrylic paints, drawing the sketches, painting the tiles, and cleaning up their space.

Eighth-grader Caelie Adams also paints as a hobby, so she appreciated the extra opportunities with this project. Her group picked O’Keeffe’s “Summer Days” because of how the animal skull and Southwestern flowers stand out against the plain background. “We had to add in blue undertones, and it was interesting trying to figure out what those were,” Caelie said. “We had some differences when mixing paint, and we had different opinions on what was correct.”

Collaboration and compromise were part of the plan, according to Giger. “My goal was for them to work as a group as if they were artists in a studio. They were using life skills, whether in an art room or business meeting or working for Google. When they do get a job, they are going to be working in a team – Can you share? Can you contribute? What can you offer?” she said. “I wanted them to listen to one another and work together, and they did it.”

Fayette County Public Schools

Related Posts

Leave a Comment