Monday, February 23, 2015

After School Art Projects: Butterflies for Lurie's Children's Memorial Hospital

In Springtime, Ann & Robert H. Lurie's Children's Memorial Hospital hosts an annual memorial service for families and staff to come together to honor and celebrate the lives of children they have cared for and who have pass away.  Elementary and High Schools in the past have created over 200 ceramic butterflies as gifts for the families.  The butterflies have become a special tradition at the service where families are able to pick out a butterfly that uniquely "speaks" to them.  

According to the hospital, butterflies are commonly used as a symbol in a child' death, paralleling that even though it was for a brief moment, we feel blessed to have known them.

Back in 2012, I was asked by a dear friend of mine if I could take on a charity project for Lurie's Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Il.    At my previous school, I joined together with the Jr. High teacher to have students from grades 4-8 create and paint butterflies for the memorial service.  I shared our previous experiences in last year's post:

A Charity Project: Butterflies for Children's Memorial Hospital

Now that I am teaching in a new school, I needed to figure out how to implement the project without having a kiln.  Joining with another art teacher in our district we decided to create our own ceramic butterflies.  We each set up an after school club for 6 weeks to create, glaze, and package the butterflies.  Since I do not have a kiln in our school, I needed to transport the butterflies to the Jr. High to be fired in between after school classes.

Below are images from the first part of the project: creating the butterflies.  Students used cookie cutters to form the butterfly shapes, while others drew designs within each cut out.They were so determined to make the quota, they surpassed the amount in just one day!

After the firing a few weeks later, we started glazing the butterflies, one by one.  Since this is my school's first time working with glazes, I needed to remind students not to paint the backs of the butterflies!

And now the finished products!  During our last meeting, we carefully packaged the completed butterflies and shipped them to the hospital for their service!

Thank you to our students for their help with the charity project and for the support from our school!


  1. What a wonderful idea... might have to do this for our children's hospital kids, my students could each make two butterflies, one to keep and one to share! Love this!!!

  2. I loved doing this it was so much fun šŸ’™ I really thought it was for a good cause. I am glad I stayed after school to do this. From Gacie