Dumpster Diving Diva Diane Kurzyna just finished a two week gig as an artist-in-residence at Daffodil Valley Elementary School in Sumner, WA, where she worked with five 3rd and 4th grade classes, creating biographical/autobiographical figurines out of recycled materials. This is what the Puyallup Herald had to say:
November 15 “” Junk becomes art in the hands of Daffodil Valley students
Artist in residence teaches children to reduce, reuse, make recycled art
Roxanne Cooke / of the Herald
What“™s trash to many is treasure to artist Diane Kurzyna. And it“™s contagious.
Under Kurzyna“™s instruction, students at Daffodil Valley Elementary created dragons and action figures out of old telephone wire, scrap fabric, twist ties, socks and plastic bottles. Some even made their own recycled art at home, inspired by Kurzyna and her knack for turning junk into art.
“Kids are catching on,“ said fourth-grade teacher Tricia Hukee.
Kurzyna spent a total of 40 hours with third and fourth-graders at Daffodil Valley Elementary as an artist-in-residence, showing students that recycling is good for the environment ““ and that it“™s an inexpensive and resourceful way to be creative.
“Everybody has junk,“ Kurzyna said. “They learn that they can make art at home.“
During her residency at the elementary school, Kurzyna showed students how to make action figures by stuffing a balled-up plastic bag and a plastic bottle into a sock. The bag formed a head while the bottle transformed into a neck and body. Scrap fabric was molded into arms by wrapping it in used telephone wire, something Kurzyna and students called the “snake method.“
Nine-year-olds Nicole Johnson and Jacklyn Brendible both said they enjoyed the experience of having an artist in the classroom.
“I like being with a real artist,“ Johnson said. “I“™m learning that I can use anything to make art.“
With her engaging lessons, Kurzyna does more than just tell students that recycling is a good thing to do. By making art with used items, students can see clearly that what often gets tossed in a trash bin can actually be used in a different way.
“There“™s an environmental message as well as an art message,“ Kurzyna said. “I think it“™s empowering the kids.“
Kurzyna“™s lessons were part of an artist-in-residency grant from Pierce County Arts and Cultural Services.
Melinda McColley, member of the Sumner Arts Commission, said the group wanted to get involved in children“™s programs.
“It“™s important that kids have an opportunity to be exposed to art,“ McColley said.
Often, other school subjects take precedence over art, McColley said. While math, science, history and English are important, art should also be part of the equation.
“It creates a whole child,“ she said.
Five third and fourth grade classrooms at Daffodil Valley were included in Kurzyna“™s lessons. She also spent time with teachers, giving them tips on how to teach art.
Kurzyna, from Olympia, earned her bachelor“™s of fine arts from the University of Washington and is currently part of an art show in Portland called “Leave No Plastic Behind.“