Middle School is about to unveil a cutting edge art installation that’s set to redefine the way Mount Vernon students and visitors experience creativity. Inspired by the concept of 2D Cafes, where decor mimics flat, hand-drawn or cartoon-style imagery, Middle School is introducing “Paper Dolls, a New Dimension.” This 2D Boutique installation which will be up within the next two weeks, promises to evolve throughout the year, and offer a surreal and immersive experience for all who step inside.

The project is the brainchild of Middle School Art Teachers Susan Edwards and Lauren Terry, with collaborative input from Upper School Learning Architect and Ceramics teacher Lynn Luster. The aim is to introduce students to the world of art across dimensions.

Visitors to the Middle School art gallery will feel as though they’ve stepped into a two-dimensional world. “We wanted Middle Schoolers to see how artists work through different dimensions, and have them do the same. We have pulled some of the 2D world for them to build in. They will be adding three-dimensional elements and 2D elements. We love the idea of paper dolls, clothing and fashion because they are flat. This installation will encourage Middle Schoolers to think dimensionally and in between.” Ms, Edwards explained. “Some people call this cartoon style. It feels like you are in a fantasy world that looks flat, but it isn’t. That is the experience.”

Collaboration across classes and divisions

The installation involves Ms. Edwards’ Grade 7 and 8 Installation Classes, who are currently constructing key pieces like clothing racks and hangers. They are transforming the gallery’s black walls into white canvases with cartoonish lines, painting chairs, and assembling the boutique structural footprint. Other classes will later contribute by adding accessories and clothing.

Ms. Terry’s Grade 6 Intro to Art, Grade 7, and 8 Swag Bag, and Digital Art Classes have been doing digital pattern work, creating gigantic figures and paper clothing. By the end of the first module, visitors can expect to see life-sized paper dolls, outfits on hangers, and the beginnings of a boutique.

Upper school students in Ms. Luster’s Ceramics class are also contributing items to be featured in the boutique, showcasing the interdisciplinary nature of this collaboration.

Studio Thinking Habits

Throughout this project Ms. Edwards and Ms. Terry are instilling Studio Thinking Habits in students, emphasizing the importance of observation, persistence, risk-taking, and exploration. The Art team aims to lay the foundation for lifelong creativity and artistic expression.

This 2D Boutique concept isn’t limited to a single MOD. The plan is to evolve it with each MOD, keeping the experience fresh and engaging. Future MODs will focus on shoes, accessories, and exploring various materials, adding new dimensions to the installation.

The collaboration between divisions and teachers is fostering a culture of creativity agency and exploration at Middle School, helping students view art as a viable career path. Beyond the skill mastery, the goal is for students to feel comfortable designing and creating, knowing that their work can have a real impact on the world.

This innovative project is blurring the lines between art, design and maker, and the Upper Campus community is eagerly anticipating its unveiling. As the students explore this unique artistic journey, they’re learning that creativity knows no bounds (or singular dimension), and it can take them to places they’ve never imagined.