Image and Artwork Credit: Sophia Cilfone
Students within the Falmouth High School Art and English programs have been expanding their talents into the real world through a collaboration between Mrs. Jane Baker and Mrs. Lauren Kenny. This duo started five years ago with a grant from the Falmouth Education Foundation.
Through Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Kenny’s collaboration, the students dive deeper into these subjects through interdisciplinary projects and field trips. Both teachers “push students outside their comfort zones,” said Mrs. Kenny.
They are using the study of transcendentalism, a philosophical movement which focuses on viewing life through nature and eliminates factors from the outside world. Transcendentalism is relevant to Cape Cod because the movement was founded here in New England.
The students have benefited from studying transcendentalism, and the field trips produced important pieces. Mrs. Kenny said Mrs. Baker has been working around the clock writing grants for more student field trips.
Students have ventured to Beebe Woods, 383 acres of conservation land in Falmouth, and explored the woods for their first glance into transcendentalism. Mrs. Baker also had guest speakers come in during Clipper Time to guide students with their poetry and art.
In addition, students traveled off Cape to visit two museums which hold transcendentalism significance: Peabody Essex Museum and Fruitlands Museum. The Peabody Essex Museum was a field trip idea from Mrs. Kenny. In the heart of downtown Salem, the PEM is made from large cuts of beautiful granite. Inside the museum beholds a mixture of media from paintings, videos, and hands-on exhibits.
Sofia Cilfone said that “The PEM was super interesting. It opened my eyes to a world beyond my cell phone.” Being immersed into the environment allowed students to take a step back and enjoy their surroundings.
The Fruitlands Museum field trip was conceived by Mrs. Baker. At Fruitlands, students walked around the Harvard, Massachusetts farm looking at the sky, leaves, trees, and other aspects of nature.
Both art and literature students were required to create poems and unique artwork after the field trips. Mrs. Kenny says this push for students to explore platforms they aren’t comfortable with came about because people felt AP Art wasn’t a real AP Class. This collaboration between the two departments pushes each class in new directions: art students have to write and English students have to create art. This different take on art and English makes the curriculum truly unique and helps students develop new skills.
Art student Brody McLean values the program. “Art is a beautiful form of expression that unites people, and allows me to be me.”