SMH Artists & Writers Collaborate to Better the World

Art often inspires collaboration. At times, collaboration among artists and writers serves a greater good. Recently, Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) students partnered to bring some light to the community through creativity and self-expression.


Upper School Painting & Drawing students and Form 5 artists began the year by making personalized bookmarks for a child, paired up through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. SMH parent, Elisa Reinsmith, who serves on the board of Make-A-Wish in San Antonio, received help from SMH faculty, staff, and students to help the child’s wish come to fruition.

“Her wish was to have a library in her home, and she mentioned fantasy novels are her favorite. In the spirit of Lower School, a unicorn was chosen as the main prompt for this fantasy-themed design,” said Lower School Art Teacher Kellen Stanley.

Stanley and Lower School Librarian/Instructional Technologist Linda Wells taught Form 5 students during Art, Library, and Interdisciplinary time. They collaborated with SMH colleagues Educational Technology Coordinator Matt Montez, 2D Drawing and Painting Teacher Logan Blanco, and Upper School Photography Teacher Kyle Petersen to explore how to turn a pencil drawing into laser-cut wood, plastic, and other materials.

Upper School Bookmarks

The Form 5 artists were presented with STEAM design specifications in order to create a stencil or drawing of a unicorn. Blanco’s classes used wood block carving tools and flexicut linoleum to design block prints for their bookmarks. Kellen’s classes collaborated with Matt Montez to use a cutting-edge laser cutter to make their bookmarks. 

“It was a hit to begin the school year with a service project with Form 5, our leaders of Lower School,” shared Stanley.

The winners of the design challenge's final pieces were Lucy C. '29, Gavin G. '29, Marcello T. '29, and Savannah I. '29

SMH participated in another cause inspiring artistic collaboration across campus. Saint Mary’s Hall AP English Literature and Composition (APELs) students joined more than 21 million children and adults around the globe in 196 countries to celebrate International Dot Day, a grass roots “creativity and courage” movement.

Started in 2009 by a teacher in Iowa who introduced his class to New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ storybook, The Dot, International Dot Day helps people of all ages to embrace the power of personal creativity and “make their mark” to better the world (learn more about Dot Day).

Saint Mary’s Hall APEL students celebrated Dot Day by sharing inspirational quotations and drawings on campus, listening to book readings by Form 5 students, and mailing inspirational “Dot” art across the school. Additionally, the Form 11 and Form 12 Advisory students of Upper School English Teachers Dr. Breanne Hicks and Amy Williams-Eddy participated in Dot Day by joining AP English Literature Guest Teacher Stacia Petersen in the creation of Cyanotype photo prints.

“This event holds a special place in my heart as Mr. Reynolds works so diligently through his publications and actions to help heal the social emotional gaps of our youth today,” said Petersen.

View a photo gallery of Dot Day

Opportunities such as the Make-A-Wish service project and the celebration of Dot Day, provide students a vehicle for self-expression through art, a chance to work together to be collectively creative, and a means to help make the world a truly better place.

To learn more about SMH Fine Arts, visit the Tobin Fine Arts School webpage.