When Liz Gilly, Outreach and Public Programs Coordinator at The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design, asked teacher Kelly Ann Coughlin if Harding Middle School would like to be the first school in the city to participate in a new community arts program, she didn’t hesitate for a moment. She teaches Creative Writing at Harding and knew this would be once in a lifetime opportunity for her students. The concept is that visiting artists would work in a school to create a culminating art project of some kind.
After getting the OK from Principal Michael Calderone they went to work. So for the past few months, Harding Middle School students in Ms. Coughlin’s 605 Creative Writing class have been working on creating unique story lines for a fictitious movie, developing characters, a plot, and a setting with visiting artists Kathryn Sclavi and Jebney Lewis.
On December 3rd, students received the unique opportunity to actually create the world they imagine by photographing a scene wearing costume, makeup, and posing in a setting similar to the one they imagine with professionals from the movie industry! With this shoot, professionals will be photographing images that will later be used to create a full size movie poster.
This “movie shoot” day took place on December 3rd. Students worked in groups of 10 to create 3 individual movie plots with characters and setting ideas. In Harding’s library, each group first gathered with a professional costumer, Julia Poiesz (from the Walnut Street Theater) and makeup artists, Marbella Chispe and Anastasia Balabanova, to get dressed in a costume and makeup akin to their character.
Once students were dressed, they went to the location of the photography shoot. Most photos were shot in the library, which was fully set up with a green screen and multiple lighting props, as well as a fog machine. There, they worked with a professional photographer, William Gregory Lewis (who flew in from Los Angeles), along with photo assistants, Rebekah Flake and Les Rivera, to shoot a scene. One group even shot out front of the school and in the nearby field to capture students dressed as zombies walking through the fog.
The students will get a chance to see the photographs and receive a copy of their image in January, once the images are edited and designed with a graphic designer. Once students choose their favorite version of their movie poster, it will be exhibited at Moore College of Art on January 23rd.
The students learned much about hard work, collaboration, and creativity and it is something they will surely remember for the rest of their lives. Ms. Coughlin’s 605 Creative Writing class is made up of Izayiah Adams, Estreya Aranda, Jerry Arroyo, Haja Bah, Nadirah Bell, Jermaine Berry, Najier Breland, Luis Domenech-Casillas, Ariiyus Elamin, Jaileen Figueroa, Marc Ganthier, Sylvia Garay, Angel Garcia, Alejandro Gomez, Ibrahim Hammoudeh, Lineda Jean-Louis, Aniyah Jenkins, Shyanne Johnson, Gavin Lichtenberger, Christian Love, Adiel Loya-Rico, Kristine Macatantan, Lamont Mull, Angel Padilla, Harry Rivera, Eric Simms-Stephens, Cory Sutton, Kathleen Thach, Istneydina Thomas, Iyania Whitfield, Marissa Wileczek and Quadir Wiley.