Abigail J. Miller, of Lexington, KY, is a teaching artist in sculpture, painting, and creative writing. She specializes in exploring topics of Judaism, disability, LGBTQ+ identity, and Latinx heritage. When she enters a new community, she views her teaching artistry as a collaboration and a means of cultural exchange.
Within her artistic practice, Abigail aims to increase awareness about environmental justice and conservation, climate change, and animal welfare. Many of her works involve upcycling materials such as cardboard, paper, and plastic.
After graduating from Lafayette High School's SCAPA Creative Writing program in 2014, she left Lexington to pursue her B.A. in Fine Arts at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
In 2019, she earned a fellowship with ArtistYear, an AmeriCorps program that deploys teaching artists to low-income public schools across Philadelphia to increase equity in arts education. She is a two-time recipient of the Young Appalachian Poets Award and has had her sculptures and paintings exhibited in galleries across Pennsylvania.
Potential Residency Project
5th grade and up. Students will design and create a paper mache sculpture of a mythical creature, explore a diverse selection of cultures and their mythologies, and learn how to participate in group artistic critiques.
This project emphasizes “upcycling," a practice of utilizing recycled and used materials to emphasize the importance of environmental conservation. Students will be encouraged to collect materials from their homes such as cardboard, newspaper, and plastic. Additionally, this project will require masking tape, hot glue or craft glue, paint, paintbrushes, and pallets.
Accessibility and Inclusion:
This program is designed to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate a variety of learners. Because students may present a range of abilities, the suggestions for differentiation can be tweaked to meet student need.
Day 1: Students will learn about the history of Alebrijes from Oaxaca, Mexico and explore popular media depictions of such creatures. They will then begin brainstorming and designing their own mythical being.
Day 2: Students will explore the mythology of the indigenous peoples of Kentucky. They will then begin constructing the skeletal armature (frame) of their creature with tape, glue, and recycled cardboard and newspaper.
Suggestions for differentiation: Students can choose from a variety of stencils to draw the limbs and features of their creature. If they struggle with fine motor skills, they can receive assistance from their teacher or another student when cutting cardboard.
Day 3: Students will explore the mythology of Angola, South Africa, and The Gambia. They will then continue construction of their skeletal armature.
Day 4: Students will finish construction of their skeletal armature.
Day 5-6: Students will paper mache their mythical creature.
Suggestions for differentiation: Students may need assistance when using paper mache. If they experience sensory discomfort with paste, they can use a paintbrush to apply it to their sculpture.
Day 6-7: Students will review the color wheel, analogous color schemes, and techniques for painting patterns and designs. They will then paint their sculptures.
Suggestions for differentiation: Students may focus primarily on using analogous color schemes if they struggle using fine motor skills for complex designs.
Day 8-9: Students will review guidelines for a successful critique and brainstorm additional guidelines. Each student will present their sculpture and receive both positive and constructive feedback from their peers.
Suggestions for differentiation: Students may contribute exclusively positive feedback for critiques.