Making Layered Narratives with Wheatpaste

Avery Williamson - "Unbothered at ease playing around"

Nick Azzaro leads a workshop that allows participants to create statements by adding and subtracting layers of paper, to a flat surface. 

Participants will be given a flat surface, then browse through out-of-use public school library books to find text and images to respond to. The objective is to engage with the pages by crossing words out, drawing original art, writing new words, and much more using provided art materials. Participants can also create original work and writings on blank paper. They should have enough paper to cover their flat surface at least three times, and the layers should compliment each other.

Next, participants will begin wheatpasting their papers onto their flat surfaces. In this step, self curation and editing are vital. The first layer will cover the surface entirely but then be partially covered by each layer thereafter, making no layer fully visible. While the paper is wet, portions can be torn off to expose what’s beneath. This allows what isn’t shown to be as important as what is. This step is challenging but allows for significant growth and understanding in statement priority. 

Please note, this is not collage making. Participants are meant to cover their surfaces’ fully for each layer and selectively remove rather than carefully cutting out only the pieces they want to add.

The end result can be taken home after the workshop or participants can let them dry and pick them up at a later date.

Ages 16+ 

Ages 9 – 16 with an accompanying guardian 

July 21, 2024. 2:00 – 3:30pm

Off Center

Free to the public 



Nick Azzaro is a sculptor and assemblage artist utilizing found and inexpensive school objects to model the accessibility of his practice and process to the students he works with. As a former public school teacher and current teaching artist for Neutral Zone and grant projects, he mobilizes expressive play with copy paper; tempera paint; and abandoned books and objects; adhered to surfaces with wheatpaste, an inexpensive concoction of boiled flour, sugar, and water long used for street signage. As a practicing sculptor, Azzaro’s work is a commentary on the systemic opportunity gaps in public education as witnessed in the classroom.