Three-foot by four-foot black and white photos of Clarkstown North High School students on the sides of the school’s buildings greet passersby. The larger-than-life posters are part of a global effort called the “Inside Out Project” to celebrate people’s differences and similarities. At Clarkstown North, the project has taken on an added dimension as part of the school’s anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying initiative.
On Tuesday, students and staff were hanging posters as part of the program that Nancy Diamond, chair of the school’s art & technology department, said got underway in late October.
“The first 25 (posters) that went up were students from our IB (International Baccalaureate) program,” she explained. “We used IB students as the starting point for the project. That first hanging became almost a promotion for the project.”
On November 2, a school wide assembly with the theme “One Tribe” was held to discuss participation in the global art project. It lead other students and staff to register, have their photographs taken and enlargements printed. Many who had digital images made also volunteered to help glue them onto the school’s brick exterior.
Senior Jessie Alchen of New City said, “I thought it was really cool to see your face in a precarious place.”
Participating students committed to the following statement: “We stand strong and together against bullying. We believe in acceptance, tolerance, and celebration of diversity in our school community.”
Senior Madison Lopez became interested in the project last year when it was discussed during an art class.
“I think the pictures are awesome,” said the Congers resident. “I think it brings a sense of unity to the school.”
Even though it was a challenge, Diamond said 21 of the images were hung Tuesday morning. Groups of three and four people were needed.
“It’s difficult in that we’re on a 15-foot-ladder with rollers and a large sheet that blows in the wind,” she said. “The kids have been awesome. They’ve been coming on their lunch, free periods.”
Two other teachers are involved in the art and IB program. Ceramics teacher Shaina Dunn and Drawing & Painting teacher Meredith Rickli are the IB community service coordinators. IB students are required to complete service and action projects and Dunn said this was a great opportunity.
“We wanted to visually show that we’re all unique and stand together and accept one another,” said Dunn. “For the school community I think those are really important.”
In total, 75 posters will be hung in eight different locations. Many of them are visible from the streets surrounding the school. They are made of very thin paper and adhered to the walls with a combination of homemade paste and commercial wallpaper paste that will disintegrate naturally.
Students contributed $10 toward the poster cost and the Inside Out Project organization matched that amount. Diamond is not aware of any other nearby displays. Across the United States, there are 379 groups and 7,920 participants.
World-renowned artist JR founded the project in order to tell the story of individual identities around the world. INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.