Challenging art projects for high school

Written by shannon lee
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Challenging art projects for high school
Photo mosaics are only one option for a challenging high school art project. (Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images)

After students reaches high school, chances are they have run the gamut of typical school art projects. Between kindergarten and the end of middle school, most students created art projects in most available media. However, with some creativity, it is possible to assign challenging art projects after students reach high school that will undoubtedly keep them stimulated.

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Who Am I Bust

This challenging high school art project is perfect for an art teacher who enjoys a hands-on approach, because students will require significant help during the completion of their Who Am I Busts. Have the students research different historical busts and come to class with an idea of how they would like to create busts that represents themselves. The bust frame is made from wire that you can cover in potter's clay, bake and decorate (the baking part is where the teacher's help comes in). Let students decorate the busts as they see fit, whether it is painting the busts in a traditional way or covering them with pictures and items they believe represent themselves.

Screen Printing

Engaging in a screen printing project is something that teachers should only attempt after students reach high school because it is such a challenging project. Have the students choose an item (a cotton T-shirt, an apron, a cloth bag, etc.) that they bring from home and an image they would like to trace onto the carbon paper needed to create a screen. Have them cut out their traced image, transfer it onto a screen and fill the cutout with fabric paint. It is a messy project that will take some time to complete but it is, nonetheless, very rewarding.


At first, it may seem like a self-portrait is one of the least challenging art projects around. However, a new twist on the self-portrait that is more appropriate and challenging for high school students is creating a self-portrait made out of the student's favourite things. Using objects instead of simply drawing a face or using photos to create a visual representation of identity is a mature idea for high school students to undertake. Try not to limit guidelines on usable objects for these self-portraits, and give students free range regarding the format they use to present them (collage, sculpture, wooden box, etc.).

Photo Mosaics

Creating a photo mosaic is a challenging high school art project that you should assign only to groups of students mature enough to ensure safety when using glass. To create a photo mosaic, have each student bring in a photo that they cherish, be it of themselves or a loved one. Blow the photo up using a colour photocopier. Using very tiny pieces of glass purchased from a craft store, have students use clear glue to adhere pieces of glass matching the colours in the photo to the photo itself. When dry, mount the mosaic on a piece of sturdy wood so the student can hang it or even frame it.

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