Piecing It Together

June 8, 2009

Elaine Rastocky, Program Associate

If you’re an art teacher looking for the perfect interdisciplinary, service art project, read on!


Helen Phillips Cole, a Dodge Visual Artist/Educator Fellow used a $1,000 mini-grant from the Foundation to engage her students in creating art for a cause (actually, two causes). Using the mosaic tiles at artist Izaiah Zagar’s home as inspiration, Keansburg High School students employed their skills and talent to contribute to their local and global communities.

Starting locally, the students worked with Keansburg’s Revitalization Committee to take existing concrete planters already in use on Town streets and turn them into mosaic beauties for local folks and visitors to enjoy.


The next logical step was to move into a global arena to raise funds to contribute to a humanitarian organization working on children’s issues. After researching various non-profit organizations, the students chose UNICEF to be the recipient of their efforts. Students created, marketed and sold mosaic flower pots with the proceeds going to UNICEF.


In describing the impact of the experience, Keansburg High School Principal Thomas Normile said, “This service learning opportunity allowed our school to give back to the community while providing both a great teaching and learning experience for those involved. Our students, through the assistance of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, have been able to change the landscape of our town through the mosaic tile murals that they added to downtown planters. In addition, our student artists, through the sale of their artwork, have been empowered to help improve the lives of children around the globe.”

Please click here for a PowerPoint presentation of the entire project. And if you want to contact Helen directly, you can send her an email:  HCole@Keansburg.k12.nj.us

We want to know: Have you implemented any art-inspired service projects in your school?