You’re never too young to learn the importance of “being green,” and the Catherine Cook School has spun their environmentally friendly knowledge in a creative way. The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) is showcasing a unique type of recycled art created by second and third graders from the Catherine Cook School in their two-month exhibition of The Art of Recycling, which will be showcased until June 2.

The Art of Recycling exhibition is part of LUMA’s Push Pin Gallery, a space in the museum for art created by school children from kindergarten to high school that strives to stimulate a child’s creativity and build self-esteem. LUMA works with art teachers to decide what art would be the most beneficial to exhibit, and special consideration is given to students who have little access to the arts.

The Push Pin Gallery is on the third floor of LUMA in a 162-linear-foot space that can only accept two-dimensional art. This hasn’t stopped schools from submitting some truly inspirational pieces. The Art of Recycling specifically mimics 20th century artists, and it’s almost hard to believe the talent that these second and third graders used to create their works of recycled art.

“This exhibition is truly an exceptional one because the end results of these artworks mimic the tradition of 20th century art through collages and assemblage styles,” says Pam Ambrose, director of cultural affairs for LUMA.

The second graders from the Catherine Cook School made recycled robots, the third graders made cereal box monsters, and there is a bottle cap mosaic mural by the Middle School Art Club. The two art teachers, Sandra Kane and Barbara Dawn, inspire their students to creatively reuse found objects and recycled materials.

“We’ve been doing the Push Pin Exhibit for eight years, and we try and work with different schools each time to bring variety to LUMA’s exhibitions,” says Pam Ambrose, director of LUMA. “The Catherine Cook School is known for their exceptional creativity.”

About 90 to 120 works of art are needed to fill the space in the exhibition, and LUMA’s professional art handlers are able to display the art in a way that looks full, but that gives each art piece its own place to shine and be admired by the exhibition viewers.

“They make the art in the classroom, and then LUMA hosts a reception for the students, parents, and teachers who made the artwork that is on display,” says Ambrose. “The students really become empowered when they get to see their art on the walls.”

LUMA is working hard to highlight the Push Pin Gallery and it’s Art of Recycling exhibition because of Loyola’s effort and commitment to sustainable living and the Chicago area’s efforts to go green. Showcasing student work and their recycled art puts the “art” in ‘everyone does their part’ to create a greener, more environmentally friendly city.

If you would like to recommend a school to participate in the Push Pin Gallery, please e-mail Ann Meehan, LUMA’s curator of education, at, or for more information about the exhibition, please visit LUMA’s website at