OAK MOUNTAIN, Ala. (WIAT) — One Oak Mountain Intermediate School English class is now a group of published authors.
This past Friday morning, OMIS students and staff unveiled their class book, “Kleiburn Museum of Art.” Over the course of seven weeks, students taking Chaney Klein’s English class took a deep dive into art history.
“We researched the time period and inferred what their name might’ve been, what they were thinking at that moment,” Klein said. “From then on, we took it and created narrative stories where their character either learned or taught a lesson.”
Klein said this has been a project she had wanted to assign for a while, even attempting the assignment during the height of virtual learning. She said now that the students are back in-person, it was time.
“I think at first, they were a bit timid,” Klein said. “Once they started seeing the response from everyone else, they started to realize how cool it was. They also were saying it was really interesting to learn what life was like back then.”
Per the assignment, students took unique approaches to the project. Students recreated various paintings, varying from that of America’s 16th president, Abe Lincoln, to internationally recognized artists like Frida Kahlo.
One student, Camila Balderas, who was born in New Jersey used her experience to pick a piece. She chose the famous painting of George Washington and his men crossing the Delaware River.
“The men are having a race to get across to the shore,” Balderas said. “They all tie when they reach the shore and are boasting about who won. Then GW steps in and gives a speech about how important their mission was to defeat the Hessians. They all learned to never boast about themselves and always be humble.”
Students were drawn into artwork for various other reasons.
“I just really liked the painting and he was a cool president,” Yoshpaul Bhatia, one of OMIS’s published student authors said. “Also, his beard was cool.”
The making of “Kleiburn Museum of Art” encouraged students to put themselves into the time and place of each piece.
“We had to look at the way they were looking, their posture and make a story out of it,” Alexa Spina said. “You had to recreate it and try to find outfits to make it look like it.”
Following the book unveiling, Ms. Klein said this project was a success.
“It’s very encouraging,” she said. “My main goal, something I always try to remember is that if I can get the kids excited, that’s the first step.”
You can check out more of their work and what’s within Kleiburn’s Museum of Art here.