Alex Haley Academy: Mellisa Kazlauskas & Jessica Mueller, Grade 7

“In response to the civil unrest on police brutality and racial injustices set off by the murder of George Floyd, students used visual language to express their understanding of the current environment.”

—Alex Haley Academy, 7th grade Teacher, Mellisa Kazlauskas, and Teaching Artist, Jessica Mueller.


We discussed symbols and metaphors and reviewed other student examples of how they used metaphor in their art.

Through interactive discussions, guided by positive feedback, students reflected on art presented to them to describe the mood, tone, symbolic use of color, representational meaning, metaphors layered in the work, and theme.


Students created a visual representation or response to the issue of police brutality. During the planning phase, students answered questions to help guide them in creating a unique representation.

They described what they would create for their project. They explained what they represented, the materials they chose to represent those ideas, and the connection between their art and the turmoil happening with police brutality.