Picture This: Hexagon Project Gains International Attention in Art Magazine

We are so proud that our organization, along with local educators, are featured in the eBook entitled “Learning Through Art: International Pictures of Practice.” After two years of compilation, this book has been published by the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA).

As the title suggests, InSEA aimed to make this a very visual book. Art educators from around the world were invited to submit images and a simple narrative to describe their practice. Rather than design a textbook containing formula lessons, InSEA strove to present critical ‘portraits’ of teaching and learning through the visual arts. The Hexagon Project was honored to be accepted among hundreds of proposals submitted worldwide.

The book is divided into the following four sections: age groups 3-7, 8-11 and 12-18, and the fourth section addresses key issues of art-infused inclusive education. The Hexagon Project’s chapter is featured in Section 3 (ages 12-18) on pages 176-180 of the PDF of the book, which can be accessed here: https://www.insea.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/LTA3_Section_3.pdf.

Hexagon Project Executive Director Beth Burkhauser said, “This publication is an important opportunity for the Hexagon Project to be seen in an international context. It shares our vision to engage young people and communities through the arts, about real-world issues and put their understandings, solutions, and compassion into action. The entire volume is a rich treasury of worldwide contemporary art teaching practice, and we are very proud and grateful to be included.”

The Hexagon Project’s examples of practice illustrate two of the many ways individuals are participating in the Hexagon Project in schools and communities across the globe.

One project featured in the book is “Changing Perspectives on Waterways,” a STEAM unit, which is the collaborative effort of three educators: environmentalist and director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Acid Mine Reclamation [EPCAMR], Robert Hughes; Dr. Andrea Nerozzi, associate director of the Maslow STEM School and Science teacher at Wyoming Seminary (with students in grades 9-12) and Burkhauser.  They addressed the 2019 Hexagon Project theme of “Transforming Conflict.” 

Hughes said, “The Interdependence Hexagon Project allowed the EPCAMR to partner with the STEM students from Wyoming Seminary for the opportunity to see firsthand healthy and polluted ecosystems in the watersheds of the Anthracite Coal Region in the Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania that were previously impacted by legacy mining practices. They also got to test the mine water, smell the gases that permeated through the air near the abandoned mine discharges (AMD), learn about stream health and ecology, and visit water treatment systems that are helping to clean up and restore the environmental degradation.”

Educational materials that were developed to compliment this work by the students meets the State Standards for Art Education and we encourage art teachers to consider using it in the classroom with their students and reaching out to EPCAMR if they are in need of a supply of iron oxide pigment.

Environmentalist and Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Acid Mine Reclamation [EPCAMR], Robert Hughes

Dr. Nerozzi said, “The Hexagon Project created a framework to engage students in learning about the environmental problems associated with abandoned mines in a more relaxed and personal manner than would be found in a classroom.  Burkhauser suggested the following approach:  to learn about the issue—interacting with it on a personal level—to investigate and experiment with ways to fix the problem, and to envision what would result if the solution was enacted.  Then, after learning about the issue, the students expressed their experience in a work of art using the hexagon as a metaphor for interconnectedness.”

Hughes with Wyoming Seminary students who collaborated on “Changing Perspectives on Waterways” project.
Front:  Robert Hughes, Emily Urbanski, Yifei Liu
Back:   Beth Burkhauser, Zhenying (Nancy) Chen, Aaliyeh Sayed, Caitlin Walker,  Andrea Nerozzi, Tiange (T) Yang
Not pictured:  Oliver Lew, Zora Machura, Jiaru (Jerry) Tang 

The second project featured in the book was one inspired by a school assembly. In 2015, art educator Lisa Temples took advantage of a motivating assembly about Tracey’s Hope, an animal rescue organization, at Riverside Jr-Sr High School that set her students on a semester-long exploration that truly became “Art into Action.” Students created hexagon-shaped ceramic collection boxes that were placed at area businesses within the community to collect funds for Tracey’s Hope.

Riverside Art teacher Lisa Temples’ students put Art in to Action by creating these collection boxes that were used to help an animal rescue organization.

Burkhauser said Temples is an excellent example of a teacher who has incorporated the Hexagon Project and its themes into her curriculum, each year finding unique and successful ways of engaging her students.

Temples, M.A.Ed.,Art Teacher, Art Club Facilitator at Riverside Jr. Sr. High School and Member of the PAEA, said, “The Hexagon Project provides the opportunity for students to engage and connect with the community through art making and collaboration. Students get a sense of how art can create awareness and inspire positive change on a local and global level.”

The Hexagon Project’s 2023 Special Theme is Environmental Justice. Fairness and justice to the land, its inhabitants, resources, and all living things contains countless dimensions to explore, learn, inform, reflect, report, create and act upon. Be sure to check out the resources we have shared to help you with this theme.  Any art educators in the region (or beyond), or community groups who would like to create hexagons, please download the template and all information. Each September, awards are given at a special recognition ceremony, in a variety of categories for hexagons made by students and community members.  The deadline to submit hexagons is June 30.

For more information about The Interdependence Hexagon Project, how your students can participate in creating hexagon art, how you can volunteer your time or to make a donation, please reach out to Beth Burkhauser at Beth@HexagonProject.Org or call 570-877-1653.