High School Artists Reimagine Elementary Student Artwork

Mar 28, 2022

The second graders in Amy Treadwell’s classroom at Allen Elementary take their artwork seriously. 

Each day, the Allen art room is abuzz with activity and excitement as each child tries to capture their imaginative creations on paper. But as young artists, they lack the skill that older students have, so Treadwell saw an opportunity for her students to learn and grow as artists by partnering with students at Frisco High School.

In the fall, elementary artists illustrated an image of a monster, then sent it to high school artists in Patrick Neumann, Suzanne Blair and Derek Jackson’s art classes. Along with the art, students sent a short information sheet about their monster to help the high schooler understand what the monster likes to eat and do. 

At Frisco High, the students analyzed every detail of the monsters and created an enhanced version of the elementary students’ art. The high school artists worked in a variety of mediums including digital.

FHS Aaron McNeese Poses with Monsters

Freshman Aaron McNeese remembers what it was like to be a beginner artist with unlimited imagination and identifies with the artistic journey. In elementary school, she would often be found drawing during class and on the playground. 

“The drawing I chose actually had two monsters named Rosie and Lexie that were best buddies living in the forest,” McNeese said. “The monsters enjoy eating Skittles and had little eyes where the noses would have been. 

“I loved the creativity of the student artwork and I didn’t want to disappoint them! I looked at every single aspect of the art they sent as I enhanced and reimagined it in a way I hope they are proud of.” 

Neumann explains that it’s important for high school students to see how much the younger students look up to them as more experienced artists. The high school artists talked about wanting to make sure that the young students felt “seen” and valued as artists.

“I’m excited to see high school students inspire younger artists,” Neumann said. “In my class, the students incorporated colored Prismacolor in their artwork and they grew through the project as their techniques improved by leaps and bounds. 

“It was clear that the students wanted to show the elementary artists that they and their artwork matter.”

Allen Student Poses with Dragon

When the students in Treadwell’s class had the opportunity to see their art and the reimagined version, there were audible gasps, squeals and screams of excitement across the classroom as each new piece was revealed. 

Neighboring classes and staff peeked out of their rooms to see what the excitement was all about and the student artists proudly pointed out the details that were captured and expanded in the new artwork.

“I love every bit of it!” proclaimed second grade artist Taeya Stosich. “I really like the little tattoos they drew on my monster. I would tell the artist ‘I love your work. You worked so hard!’”

Sophomore Julian Hoyle had a monster called Fireboy that shoots lasers out of its hands and could fly.

“I kept the pose and shape, then worked to accentuate it with details,” Hoyle said. “It was fun to have some creative liberty while helping a student’s artwork reach a new level.

“It was a fun but challenging experience and I hope that the child is happy with what I created!”

Without a doubt, the Allen elementary visual artists were overjoyed to see their elevated artwork. The artistic collaboration was rooted in Future-Ready skills emphasized throughout the District and was part of the District’s celebration of Big Art Day in early March, which kicked off Youth Art Month. 

Watch the students say “thank you” to the high school artists.

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