Patapsco High School turns “Inside Out”


On an unseasonably warm and sunny day in December, students from Patapsco High School gathered outside with roller pans and buckets full of glue to literally plaster their faces on the outside of the school. After months of planning, it was finally time to turn Patapsco “Inside Out” as a part of the project that carries the same name.

Grade 11 student Edison Lopez and his friends gathered on the far right corner of the building and worked together to hang the enlarged black and white photos of themselves with concentrated precision.

“It’s a little crooked,” he said to a friend as she fine-tuned her photo.

"It gives us a voice and shows how diverse our school is," Lopez said. “We got not just art students but the entire student community to make pictures.”

According to Beth Slater, the digital fine arts teacher at Patapsco, one of the key purposes of the project was to create solidarity within the school by getting students to connect and work together on a large project.

“We were inspired by Milford Mill High School doing it last year,” Slater said. “It turned out beautifully and was so successful. Once I heard about it I was like, ‘we have to do that!’”

The Inside Out Project was created by the French photographer JR in 2007 as a global participatory art project with the potential to change the world, according to the project’s website. It is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art. Nearly 200,000 people in 112 nations have taken part in the project.

“It’s such a great outcome, they’re absolutely beautiful and it creates unity in the school,” Slater said, grinning at the progress being made on the building’s brick exterior.

“We wanted to not only beautify our school, but just showcase the diversity of our artist population,” added Jessica Powell, a fine arts teacher at the school. “At this age they are a little self-conscious sometimes, so to see the pride in their faces…and to see them being excited about it is pretty neat.”

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