We are all 100% - Inside/Out Project Calls Attention to Wage Gap and Gender Equality

Each fall, Middle School art teacher Andy Katz challenges his eighth grade students to participate in the Inside/Out Project, inspired by French street artist and social activist JR who prints large-scale, black and white portraits, and pastes them in communities around the world. Read more about JR’s work.

Through the Inside/Out Project, Key students are asked to think not only about the aesthetics of art, but also about how openness, compassion and acceptance of others are concepts that make art more meaningful.

Each eighth grade student artist is encouraged to use their 4’ x 3’ portrait to express their response to one of three prompts: 

  • Can Art change the world? Construct a persuasive stance on your opinion. 
  • What do you stand for? What do you believe? What is most important to you?
  • Finish this introduction: “You think you know me, but….” 

This year, a group of twenty-one eighth graders were galvanized by classmate Reese Corckran to band together and make a powerful statement with their portraits about the wage gap and gender equality. The official name of the project is “We are all 100%.” Reese and her fellow eighth graders conducted research on those issues and, after gathering statistics from leanin.org, decided to assign themselves the percentage of a dollar each would earn respectively in their individual portrait based on their gender and race.  The installation—taking up all 21 windows on the rear of the Barn—is subtle but powerful, and provides an opening for meaningful conversation.

“I have been passionate about the wage gap and gender equality for a long time so when the project was introduced and Mr. Katz said to choose something you were passionate about, this seemed the obvious choice,” said Reese.  “I didn’t know how hard it was going to be—it required a lot of organizing and planning because there were so many people involved—or even that there was going to be controversy about it. I have been going to Key School for a very long time and I have always seen 8th graders’ pictures on the walls of the Barn. Now seeing my own photo there among my peers...I feel more than anything a sense of accomplishment.”

“These student artists researched statistics, and boldly and bravely presented their findings in this compelling group installation.  Discussions and healthy debates were sparked, and young people found a new avenue of expression,” said Mr. Katz.  “It is inspiring to witness students using their artwork to evolve their ideas and exercise their citizenship.  We are proud of these art students for finding meaning and relevant connections to the world around them.”