In the fall of 2012 and the winter of 2013 over twenty East Chapel Hill High School students created to a collectively-designed work of art made of clay tiles painted with an encaustic (wax) medium. Through a process of journaling and discussion, the students chose a broad yet personal theme to explore through the artwork: teenage existence. Seeking to develop a more nuanced view of their lives than they see reflected in popular culture, they decorated each tile using encaustic and found objects to literally and abstractly represent themselves as artists and individuals.
The project was conceived of and led by Carrboro installation artist Carter Hubbard, working with ECHHS Art Instructor Melissa Vrooman. The piece is now permanently installed in a display case in the school entryway.
“Amidst their creative process, during which students have been tasked with decorating a series of paper clay tiles with their colorful thoughts and expressions about teenage life, even the casual observer can note an artistic evolution. At the project’s close, the students... connect[ed] their individual tiles, an act symbolic of the web of personal and societal connections and experiences that also bind them together in life.” - ECHHS student artist Corey Risinger.
“Through the creation of this installation, the students were given the chance to be heard as individuals regarding what is significant in their lives and on their minds at this current time, as history in the making. The topics initially discussed and represented in the piece varied from the environment to women’s issues to identity shaped/effected by the media and more.” - Carter Hubbard.