Midtown: Community

Southeast Raleigh students rise to challenge: art in a storage unit

Students from Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School will turn the long, narrow interior of a room-sized storage unit into interactive art for display at the Visual Art Exchange this First Friday.

Their plan: create a maze out of painted window panes hung from the ceiling.

From a teacher’s point of view, it’s a chance for students to learn collaboration skills including communication, planning and compromise. For students, it’s an opportunity to show their work in the real world and a challenge to turn a utilitarian space into something more.

“They’re excited about doing something big and grand and difficult and different and a little crazy,” said Jodi Aker, art instructor at Southeast Raleigh High.

It’s part of the PODS Art on the Inside project, sponsored by PODS Moving and Storage of Greater Raleigh. One school each month from around Wake County receives a rectangular storage unit to transform for display at the Visual Art Exchange on W. Martin St. Last month it was Apex High School. In May, Southeast Raleigh High students have their shot.

Students have worked on their installation since April, Aker said. Each window works off of student ideas of what windows can be: a source of light or a chance to see the other side of something. Subjects range from vicious dogs to yard waste to the Garden of Eden, Aker said. The show is titled “Look Through My Pane.”

Southeastern High is the third school in the area to participate. The final project, by Sanderson High School students, will show at Visual Art Exchange in June. Then the program will go on hiatus until early next year, said Evan Lennon, owner of the Raleigh PODS franchise.

There’s already interest, he said.

“When you’re able to take an art project and make it mobile, you bring two cool things into one,” Lennon said.