Using art, music to express their emotions on social issues
A sculpture of a dead coral reef was a chance for Caroline Robinowitz to
express her feelings about climate change. It’s a global issue this St.
Leo eight-grader said she’s been “really passionate about” since fourth
“I like that my school gives me an opportunity to express what I feel
passionate about through art and music,” said Caroline, 14. “You can’t
show through a math problem that you’re passionate about the Earth. You
can show it through art and music because those really show emotions.”
A purple, white and gold flag in a painting by Millie McEntee
represented her passion about women’s rights. “I’ve always wanted to
stand up for people’s rights (and those who) want their voices heard,”
explained the 13-year-old, who said she wants to serve in the U. S.
Senate someday. She credited her parents and teachers for encouraging
her to always stand up for what she believes in.
Fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at St. Leo School
were given an opportunity to share their passion on a variety of topics.
For Ian Griffin, playing a song on his guitar can help him gain a deeper
understanding of what’s happening in the world around him. Specifically
in this project, he played low and high musical notes to share his
feelings about people who say they’re going to do something to help the
environment, but don’t.
“Music helps me express my feelings in the moment,” said Ian, an
Sixth-grader Elijah Danford’s sculpture – a plate of food – was created
to bring awareness to world hunger, he said.
The 11-year-old said he’s reminded of this issue whenever his family
travels to a large city and sees someone holding a sign that reads,
“Will work for food.” So he’s proud that his Cub Scout Pack 32 collected
over 3,000 pounds of donated food for the Food Pantry for Woodford
County over the last two years.
Emma Melanson painted a community garden because she said no one should
go hungry and everyone deserves to eat a breakfast, lunch and dinner. If
someone doesn’t have a meal to eat, she said, “It’s really sad to me.”
The COVID-19 pandemic spurred St. Leo’s art and music teacher, Rosie
Fedorchuk, to do a unit on art and activism so her students could
express their feelings on a variety of social justice issues, she explained.
In addition to creating art for social issues that they are passionate
about, students chose a song like “We are the World” and “One Love”
about their topics, Fedorchuk said. She said the Principals of Catholic
Social Teaching provided a basis for the variety of art projects created
by students at St. Leo. Students also learned about artists and
musicians who used their craft to promote social justice, she added.
“The things that we get to create have a purpose,” explained Maddie
Rabinowitz, “and could help people change their … beliefs …”
Abstract art was Libby Rowe’s canvas to freely express her emotions and
feelings about climate change. She used colors – blue fading into red –
to show the effects of warming temperatures, with an end result being
polluted water, she said. All of the animals affected by climate change
and pollution inspired her art, she added.
Art allowed this 13-year-old to “express things that I can’t quite say …
that I don’t understand how to say. So I can express (my feelings)
through art,” she explained.
“You can show your emotions through art, or you can show your beliefs or
passions,” said Millie.