I bet most of you with school aged children have participated in some form of a school auction. It is a popular fundraising model. One component of the school art auction is THE CLASS ART PROJECT. Spring is the time of year that I start getting emails or DMs from readers, friends, and room parents reaching out in a wee bit o' panic. The subject line usually reads: "Help me!", "I have no ideas", or "Why? Just why?" I get it. Coming up with a collaborative art project for 25+ kids that someone will love enough to buy can be tricky for an art teacher, let alone a parent volunteer. It finally hit me as I was hashing out my 10th reply that I should probably go ahead and write a post. Let me start by saying that this post could easily be a 10 parter, and maybe someday it will be. But for now, I am keeping it at a tight 20, mainly because I think these 20 ideas will provide fertile soil for your ideas. Here are my criteria for school auction art:
1. Low cost materials
2. Process should be straight-forward, quick, + F U N!
3. Fresh and colorful aesthetic
4. Would I want to get out the checkbook and own this piece... not just because my kid's fingerprint is somewhere in there, but because it is just a great collaborative work of art?
1. Throw your hands in the air for functional art. This painted dot serving tray was created by H's first grade class and it got the top bid at the school auction this year!! You can find our full DIY here.
2. I love the idea of turning our Paint Chip Rainbow Bird into a class project. I am imagining each student creating an abstract painting or a mixed media process piece and then those paintings getting cut into feathers. Art facilitator creates the bird shape and the feathers are created by the kiddos and attached with a glue stick. Or you could skip the bird's body and just make angel or bird wings. I think a pair of colorful wings mounted shadow box style like this would be killer, don't you?
3. A group of abstract paintings created on small wooden blocks! The pieces could be auctioned individually or in a group. This Etsy shop is filled with beautiful works of art on wooden blocks.
4. Not up for running to the art store? I don't understand why, but hey, this is a judgment free zone... haha! What about a quick snap on your iPhone camera? Sweet and easy works for this girl. Find this class photo idea here.
5. I would totally bid on this pom pom wall hanging and you would be doing the world a great service by teaching 25 kids how to make pom poms.
6. In my next life I would like to come back as an Anthropologie window stylist. I think we can all agree that those guys are having some serious fun. When I am really stuck for ideas I just peruse Anthro window displays on the interwebs and they never cease to inspire. My oldest daughter's 5th grade class made a version of this one last year for the school art auction. We used mason jar lids instead of paint can lids because it was a little more budget friendly. If I were to do it all over again I would have kept the designs a little tighter. The kids kind of went off on a poo emoji and smiley face tangent (5th graders)... this is why I am sharing the original... haha!!
7. I am a big fan of wall hangings, especially ones that incorporate natural elements like driftwood. It would be so easy and fun to turn this DIY into a class art project! Kids love painting sticks!
8. I have a feeling string art would be a massive hit with the kids. This tutorial walks you through the steps. The piece below was created with 100 kids and sold for 10k!!
9. Here is another option for my friends who want to raise money without getting their hands painty! Turn student drawings into one sleek framed poster! There are a few services that do the conversion for you like this Australian company. Or if you are up for a DIY:
photograph the student work
resize the photos on your computer with the software of your choice (iPhoto, Canva, Lightroom, Photoshop..)
create a grid pattern layout
Get the photo collage printed poster size at your local print shop. If you are in the US FedEx/ Kinkos is really affordable.
Stick the poster in one of these white Ikea frames.