Schoolwide art project helps individuals find their voice

Glenbrook South is invested in helping people define their identities, which can be seen in the schoolwide art project that has people sharing their personal discoveries with each other.

“We Realize(d)” launched May 4 in the Old Pit, an informal gathering space at the school. This spot was selected for its high visibility. 

On a 17- by 7-foot canvas, designed by graffiti artist Paul Ramirez, the words “We Realize” are spray painted with a ‘D’ painted in red to finish the phrase. Around it, students and staff have plastered foam board canvases of different sizes. The foam boards – containing paintings, drawings and phrases – reveal a story about the artists’ experiences. 

Earlier this year, teacher Scott Glass took his humanities classes to Chicago to learn about graffiti and its cultural importance. During the field trip, students met and spoke with Ramirez, who agreed to collaborate on the school project.

After much planning, “‘We Realize(d)’ evolved during conversations with [Ramirez],” Glass said. “We all liked the different ways it could be read … its different meanings …. and students like the anonymous nature. They felt it was easier to be honest, and it was interesting to imagine who the creators of particular statements might be.”

“We Realize(d)” is a purposefully ambiguous phrase, meant to stimulate thought within the artist so that they can interpret the project in their own way. Students and staff have spent the entire school year exploring the meaning identity: “the fact of being who or what a person is.”’

With the school’s wide range of courses, extracurricular activities and athletic teams, students can explore their passions and build their skillset.

“We also believe in helping students find their voice,” Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel said. “We want students to find issues and challenges that they care about, learn about and share their opinions about.”
 Schoolwide art project helps individuals find their voice