I Can Change the World poster project was developed by art teacher, Carol Molenda, for the students at St. Benedict High School as her project for the University of Illinois at Chicago Contemporary Community Curriculum Initiative..
I Can Change the World
First, feel, then feel, then
read, or read, then feel, then
fall, or stand, where you
already are. Think
of your self, and the other selves...think
of your parents, your mothers
and sisters, your father
then feel, or
fall, on your knees
if nothing else moves you,
then read and look more deeply
into all matters come close to you.
Make some muscle in your head,
but use the muscle in your heart.
Leroi Jones
This project is an exploration of and a means of expressing opinion on a social issue that needs to be changed in order to make the world a better place today and for future generations. It is also an opportunity for students to use visual and verbal means to express feelings about the world in which they live. In his poem, writer Leroi Jones, for many years now known as Amiri Baraka, foregrounds the necessity of students developing their hearts as well as their minds. For Baraka, authentic feeling includes feeling for the world and people around us.

Sometimes it seems difficult to get students to see beyond themselves; by looking into themselves, students can begin to become more involved with the social issues of the world. Through research, students are able to connect their felt concern with facts and information that helps them to investigate the complexities of an issue and to then formulate realistic positions on what might be done to improve the situation. It also helps students to understand that sometimes courage means continuing to be aware of a situation even when it is not at all clear what currently can be done to improve things.

By looking at the work of contemporary artists such as Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holtzer, students see that there are many ways to make art. They do not feel the need to complete a perfectly rendered drawing or painting to make a powerful statement about something about which they feel passionate.

After a class discussion about events or social problems that the students find disturbing, each student chooses an issue to research and represent. The students are also asked to write about how they feel about the situation and to formulate potential solutions to the problem. Their verbal expressions are incorporated into the final works of art.

Appropriating images from magazines and newspapers generates the imagery for the posters. An important aesthetic aspect of this project is that students are not asked to laboriously re-draw found images. Utilizing a familiar strategy of contemporary postmodern artworks, the selected images are juxtaposed and layered onto the final artwork. The found photos were xeroxed or traced onto transparency film. Using an overhead projector, students enlarge and trace images onto their personal political posters. When using the technique of projection, students quite naturally become more experimental in juxtaposing and layering images, thus moving spontaneously into styles of illustration and representation that are more complex than naturalistic, social realist-type imagery.