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WCSD middle school art students create, swap trading cards throughout district, world

WCSD middle school art students create, swap trading cards throughout district, world

For years, art teachers across Westerville’s middle schools have rolled out a trading card lesson, where students create mini-art works applying media, materials and techniques of their choosing.  

The project has opened the doors for a trading card exchange, where teachers have swapped cards with classrooms across the district or other states. And for the first time, art students at all five Westerville middle schools will exchange their trading cards with each other.

“The Artist Trading Cards project gives students an opportunity to create artwork on a small scale that intentionally connects them to other artists, the same age, with students in Westerville and around the world,” said Genoa art teacher Juls Rathje, who is also coordinating a trading card exchange with art classes in California, Florida, Wisconsin and Ontario. 

“The artwork is small so it's not intimidating,” she said. “It immediately allows them the freedom to take risks in their art while giving their work a different direction because it was created with someone else in mind, its purpose only to be created and shared with a positive message, inspiring another artist they've never met.” 

Rathje, Megan Walker at Blendon and Walnut Springs, Meegan Moore at Heritage, and Bryant Prugh at Minerva Park rolled out the lessons for students in recent weeks, inviting them to create an original artwork that captures their personality, interests or hobbies.

Designs could include any media but had to cover the entire card. Teachers encouraged students to stick with themes for their series of trading cards. Rathje, for instance, offered a variety of concepts: conflict and adversity, freedom and social change, heroes and leaders, humans and the environment, identity and invention.

Common themes emerged in trading cards across the different classrooms: Taylor Swift songs, messages of affirmation, favorite animated characters and landscapes.

Ashlyn Weidner, an eighth-grader at Genoa, created nine trading cards that offer a glimpse of her many interests — dogs, math, Taylor Swift and traveling. One card features a strip of brown yarn looping all across the surface under the words, “A little messy.”

“Sometimes when I’m working on art, stuff is really messy before it gets to the end result and it can turn out really good,” she said.

Weidner said she enjoyed the project and sharing parts of her personality on the 2.5 by 3.5 inch canvas. 

What does she hope students who receive her trading cards take away from her artwork?

“Be yourself and stay true to who you are,” she said.

  • Blendon Middle School
  • Genoa Middle School
  • Heritage Middle School
  • Minerva Park Middle School
  • Walnut Springs Middle School
  • Westerville City Schools

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