Halloween for most is a time to get spooky. For others, it’s a month-long opportunity to fully get into character and showcase their passions to the community.
Eagle Ridge Middle School art teacher Jennifer De Angelo-Baxter has been dressing up as the subjects of famous portraits throughout October as a way to keep virtual class time fun for her close to 150 sixth- and eighth-grade students—and for herself. So far, she has dressed up as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” and Andy Warhol’s “The Marilyn Diptych.” Next up, she’ll be imitating Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” with the help of her husband.
De Angelo-Baxter said the idea to imitate the famous portraits this year was a call to previous years, when she and her colleagues dressed up on Halloween as famous artists while teaching at Eagle Ridge. Last year, she dressed up as Warhol. The year before that, she painted her face in the style of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, using primary colors with contrasting black lines.
De Angelo-Baxter has been posting the photos all to her teacher Instagram account, @mrs_baxters_art_class. She plans to post “American Gothic” there on Saturday.
Dressing up during Halloween isn’t the only way De Angelo-Baxter has surprised her students. A year ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut schools entirely, she and her colleagues surprised their students by dressing up as Bob Ross and taking them on a field trip to the Franklin Park Arts Center’s BobRossexhibit.