SCOTTSBLUFF — Creativity is an important component of everyday life and for Bluffs Middle Schools seventh- and eighth-graders, art class not only provides them an outlet to showcase their creativity, but also to spread positivity.

Sept. 8-14 is National Arts in Education Week and students in Nikole Leonard’s art classes created inspired diamonds for a collaborative piece inspired by The Power of Positivity. Leonard found inspiration for the project online from other schools.

The project is an annual assignment for the students to teach them more than art.

“I hope it teaches them to be kind to others and help others get through their day,” Leonard said.

Before creating their diamonds, the students discussed the power of positivity by asking them to use positive self talk to get through their days.

“We talked about how do you get through your day and use positive self talk to help,” Leonard said. “I also had them come up with three positive words or phrases they could feature on their inspired diamonds.”

Some of the words students came up with were strength, hope, be you, inspire, future and keep calm.

“It was hard coming up with what to put on my diamond,” said eighth-grader McKenzie Baum. “I thought of myself.”

Baum's words were dream and inspire.

As the young artists spent Tuesday and Wednesday creating and finishing their pieces, they hope the final product looks cool and the inspirational words help people get through the day.

Starting with a diamond-shaped paper, students traced lines to create a 3-D effect before filling each space with designs and their words.

“The hardest part is drawing it all out,” said Cameron Kinsey.

Kinsey completed the project last year, too, and said it was well-received by the staff and students. The project was a talking point for students and reminded them to check on their friends.

For this year’s project, he decided to write, “You can do this.”

“It’s a thing I always say if I have to do something hard,” Kinsey said. “It’s motivation.”

Mia Landrum felt like the project did more than allow her to create something, but to be a part of positive change at Bluffs Middle School.

“It can boost the mood and make others feel like they can get through the day,” she said.

Gabriela Spradlin agreed the art project is good for boosting the school atmosphere, but she noted how art extends to her other classes.

“To be honest, I think art is throughout my classes and is the place where I can just relax and lets my head relax as I create and color,” Spradlin said.

For several seventh-graders, they said the inspiration diamonds are a fun project that allows them to share something inspirational.

While most students colored their diamonds using markers or colored pencils, Emma Marks chose water colors.

“I decided to do water color and go around the letters and then fill in the letters with the sharpie to make it pop,” she said. “I like that you don’t have to use markers or pencils, you can really do whatever you want.”

Between her seventh and eighth grade classes, Leonard hopes to display around 55 inspired diamonds in the school’s hallway as a tessellation. They planned to begin hanging the diamonds Wednesday afternoon.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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