Mr. Ms.fit: Mades Johnstone Center statue wins first prize
By Anna Scanlan
Last weekend, March 23 and 24, students from the Chicago area submitted art to the 20th annual Chicago Area Alternative Education League (CAAEL) art fair. Mades Johnstone Center was one of the numerous schools competing in the show.
Over the past four and a half months the entire school has participated in the making of a six foot tall statue piece, which won first prize in the sculpture division.Paul Scanlan, art teacher at Mades Johnstone Center, has been building the art program at the school for the past seven years.“It was incredible to watch the students involvement in the progression of this project,” says Scanlan. “They learned many valuable lessons about the process that goes into making meaningful artwork.”
The statue touches base on a variety of issues. Younger artists focused on important lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. along with those of equality, women’s rights, bullying, inclusion, and individuality, while older students dove deeper into subjects such as LGBTQ+, peer pressure and depression.Centering the piece was a six foot tall mannequin coated in puzzle pieces from numerous puzzles. It stood on a platform that also contained larger wooden puzzle pieces representing struggles that, as humans, we face within ourselves and the world. On display behind the mannequin stood a wallpaper of individuality puzzle pieces created by younger students.
Overall, the piece showcased the struggles faced while trying to fit in, and as it covered such a variety of topics, everyone can find something to relate to within this piece of artwork.Scanlan again notes, “A lot of students, and people in general, have trouble fitting in. This piece not only educates, but it celebrates our individuality. Each one of us has a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit.”