Arts and Humanities brings new life to recycled materials for community art exhibit

Dozens of Arts and Humanities Focus Program students get to express their creativity in a unique way. More than 30 young artists have their works on display at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln’s International Quilt Museum in connection with its Feed Sacks exhibit

The Arts and Humanities students built on the museum exhibit’s idea of reusing and repurposing to transform recycled materials into new creative works. Lincoln High senior Maron created a small coin purse out of scraps of flower-adorned fabric and leftover buttons. 

“With the art that I usually do, I really like doing collage,” Maron said. “So, it was really neat collaging actual fabrics together and also sewing them together to make a repurposed piece. It’s not something I’ve actually done before, like I haven’t collaged fabric before. It made me very happy that I got to repurpose that and then show it off at a whole entire gallery.” 

For weeks, the students studied other contemporary artists who curated works with reused items to draw inspiration as they made their own pieces. The project allowed the artists to stretch their strengths by exploring different mediums like jewelry and printmaking. 

Senior Anara revamped a 1940 parachute and designed a cloth jellyfish for the collection through this process. 

“I learned printmaking which is really fun and exciting. I also bettered my sewing skills, which I’ve barely sewed in my life before and my jellyfish is basically sown, so I learned a lot about sewing,” she said. 

“Students used the creative research cycle to ideate how they could create a piece that was personal to them but also responded to the materials they were using,” Arts and Humanities teacher Maggie Elsener said. 

The Arts and Humanities Focus Program is one of Lincoln Public Schools’ oldest focus programs. The experiential learning opportunity allows LPS high school students to explore their artistic and humanitarian interests. The program’s educators believe community partnerships with entities like the International Quilt Museum help emphasize the mission of the focus program. 

“It really makes me feel connected with my community at Arts and I'm happy that I was involved with it,” Maron said.

“We really do want students to think about their place in the world, but also how do they connect to the world at large,” Elsener said.

The Arts and Humanities exhibit at the International Quilt Museum opened at the beginning of February and will be on display through May.

If you’re interested in the Arts and Humanities Focus Program or want to apply for the 2024-2025 school year, visit

Do you have a story idea? Share it with the LPS Communications Team by filling out this form!

Published: February 16, 2024, Updated: February 16, 2024

LPS Arts and Humanities students curated works from recycled materials for a special exhibit at the International Quilt Museum. You can visit the exhibit starting February through May.