Sixth Graders Spread Kindness, Peace With Paintings

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Rye Neck Middle School sixth graders – who drew inspiration from Pablo Picasso’s famous antiwar painting called “Guernica” – recently created their own original paintings that incorporated a white dove, the international symbol of peace, at the center of their work. Under the leadership of art teacher Trisha Appel, the project was designed to help students spread kindness and peace throughout their school. 

Using pencils and paper, the students first sketched out their ideas and doves before outlining their work in black Sharpie and painting their compositions with watercolor paints. Then, they painted their dove white with tempera paint to make it stand out, and later outlined it in black oil pastels or black pencils to further emphasize the dove. They also incorporated different words of encouragement to express their messages of peace and kindness.

“Each student’s work was different, yet they were all using the same subject matter,” Appel said. “I liked how they were able to take a theme and be as creative as they liked, and how they were able to use the skills that they learned to create wonderful works of art.” 

In addition, the students’ work directly aligned with the No Place for Hate program at Rye Neck Middle School, which was spearheaded by sixth grade guidance counselor Meegan Lawlor a few years ago.  

“The program helps to create a school environment that reminds students to be inclusive of each other, to be kind to each other, and to value and respect everyone,” Appel said. “Our art project was designed to remind students to continually promote kindness, peace and acceptance throughout school and wherever they go.”

The sixth graders’ artwork is on display outside the main office.