My students in my Portfolio class in RISD Project Open Door have recently accomplished some exciting projects. I got involved with Project Open Door last fall, so this is my second year with the program. The Portfolio class I teach has high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Unlike in RISD’s undergraduate program where I only see the students for one 12 week semester, many students in my Project Open Door class were in my class last year. I have really enjoyed working with these students on a long term basis.
Project Open Door is “a pioneering program that attracts teens with a passion for art and attending public high schools and charter schools from Rhode Island’s urban core cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, Woonsocket, and literally envelops them with RISD resources and intensive mentoring throughout their high school years. Project Open Door has a dual mission: to 1) to increase access to high quality arts learning and careers in art and design for under-served Rhode Island teens, and (2) to provide a community education laboratory for RISD students, alumni, faculty, and staff.”
The students in my Portfolio class recently completed an intensive sculpture project. I asked the students to design a three-dimensional staircase. We kept our definition of a staircase very loose, so that there was a lot of room for interpretation. Fundamental design concepts like shape, repetition, and negative space were all integral to creating these pieces. Students were limited to working with foamboard and hot glue. You can see all of the projects, as well as images of students working in class, and individual student portfolios here.