Faith Hill points out the word “help” in her piece, which she wrote in English, Spanish and French.
Faith Hill points out the word “help” in her piece, which she wrote in English, Spanish and French.

   The paintings are hard to look at.

   Not because they’re poorly made. On the contrary, they’re carefully crafted with color, contrast, detail, texture and research.

   But to gaze at them can be painful. They’re controversial. They’re graphic. They’re heart-rending.

   And that’s the whole point.

   Green Lake art teacher Leslie Wood asked her high-school students, “What breaks your heart?” and told them to paint it.

   Wood gave presentations to the students on example issues: human trafficking, the opioid epidemic, images from the Syrian civil war.

   “The assignment was to create an emotional response to a world issue,” Wood said.

   They did, and the results were so potent that they’ve stirred up more debate and controversy than anticipated, the teens and their teacher say.

   The graphic nature of many of the paintings led to administrators moving the artwork from the open high school hallway outside the gym to a smaller room with a copy machine across from Wood’s classroom.

Read the full story in the May 17, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.