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I tried to send this earlier, but it never went through. So here it goes....
I have an elementary school art club (Gallery Group) and we are painting
wood furniture that is either donated, purchased at thrift shops, garage
sales or wherever (chairs, shelves, etc.) to use around the school. They
are designing them with patterns, shapes and themes. During this we
discuss functional vs. purely decorative art. We also have local artists
visit to show their work and do mini-workshops with the kids. I have the
kids prepare questions to ask the artisit before hand. Maybe something you
could adapt to high school? Good luck!