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Relief Printmaking: An Artistic Take on Social Issues.

Mercy High School is known for its many offerings for classes in all the areas, and excelling at them in the fields of the future. Mercy has a very successful sports program, academic program, and arts program in which students can choose a variety of courses for their interests. A recent update on what projects that are being produced from the arts program is a project labeled “Relief Printmaking” by Intro to Art.  

A Land Divided – Madeline Larsen

“Relief Printmaking” is a form of printmaking used to express an artist’s opinions on a social issue. The students were asked to research a social issue that has more than one side and decide which one they agreed with the most and then illustrate a picture describing the issue. The students then had to transfer that design to a linoleum block and carve into said block to make it printable. They printed multiple copies using print ink and brayers and turned in their best three prints. They also had the opportunity to exchange prints with each other through a portfolio trade. This form of art is a great way to bring light to social issues in the classroom and in the hallways to all the young girls in the school, especially since some of these issues do not get talked about that much. Some of the issues that were referenced are censorship, animal abuse, human trafficking, political issues, and body positivity. These artists did a great job of contributing to the conversation around these topics. 

My Art, My Power.- Leah Kinney

One of the topics that was mentioned was censorship. One student used this as her topic of discussion for this project, making a beautiful piece describing her issues with censorship in the social world, mentioning her problem with censorship in art, writing, and speaking with others. “I decided to pick the social topic of censorship, especially with young artists, and their personal opinions. Since censorship is something I’ve dealt with, I knew it was an important topic to me. My art depicts how censorship can make artists feel silenced, and that their voice doesn’t matter. I think it’s extremely important, especially when someone is just figuring out what they stand for and their beliefs, that they have the freedom of expression”, artist Leah Kinney said. Kinney’s take on censorship in the art world connects to the topic of freedom of speech in the social world and how the young aren’t seen as valuable to the people around them and in power. As Kinney mentions, it is important for young and aspiring artists to feel that they can speak on issues through their art and have it taken seriously by others around them. 

This project was a great way to talk about self expression through art while using a very different media. The students have mentioned how excited they are to show their pieces and what they were able to create regarding their social issue. With the influence of society, standards, and each other, the students were really able to push themselves out of their comfort zone and produce some amazing pieces. 


Bee Hampton
Lover of Dance, Food, and Theater.
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