• Should each student showcase pieces from their portfolios?
• Should certain students show entire portfolios while others create live work?
• Should each student choose two pieces? One?
• Should they even show their work from school or create installation instead?
• Should we have stations or should we have a treasure hunt?
• Should we set up the weekend before or the day of?
So many decisions to be made… so many pieces of art, so many children with spirit, so much art to share, so much Beautiful Fun. Artwork highlighted created by fifth grader from Buckman Heights Elementary School in Greece, New York.
Another fifth grader’s reproduction project whose decisions led them to Portrait No. 1 by Joan Miró. So happy to be along for the ride on their artistic journey.
(Title: After Miro, Artist: Fifth Grader Buckman Heights, Date: 2012, Medium/Size: Mixed media on white paper, 18″ x 24″, Current Location: student portfolio, Greece, New York)
(Title: Portrait No. 1, Artist: Joan Miró, Date: 1938, Medium/Size: Oil on canvas, Current Location: Modern – Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland)
Every year students reproduce a piece of artwork they find inspiring and learn about the artist who created it and it’s historical significance. It is a way to see how students creatively process a design problem and teach art history at the same time. What materials will they use to best get the result they want? The original may be a painting but the elementary student may not feel adept at recreating the image in that medium. What background color will they start with? Will they choose to find the contour lines to start their piece or will they chunk the visual information into basic shapes first? The teacher can see what developmental stage the student presents at by looking at their analytical thought process in regard to their usage of elements and principles. Here is one I found interesting not only for what is in the piece but for what the child chose to leave out.
(Title: After Chagall, Artist: Fifth Grader Buckman Heights, Date: 2012, Medium/Size: Mixed media on black paper, 18″ x 24″, Current Location: student portfolio, Greece, New York)
(Title: I and the Village, Artist: Marc Chagall, Date: 1911, Medium/Size: Oil on canvas, 6′ 3 5/8″ x 59 5/8″, Current Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York)
It is incredibly satisfying to see the confidence grow as the fourth graders create contour line drawings of their shoes. After viewing the end results, I am sure you will see why they are so very proud of their accomplishments. This skill helps improve eye/hand coordination. Eye/hand coordination is the visual processing of information to guide hand movements. Eye hand coordination is necessary to a variety of daily, routine activities—from picking up a book to knitting a scarf. It accompanies many syndromes and conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, decreased muscle tone, and certain visual disorders like optic ataxia. Many children with developmental delays also demonstrate poor eye hand coordination. Another example of how art is beneficial to the well being of ALL students.
Breaking the rules of proportion with collage techniques leads to wonderfully silly artwork. The newspapers I had collected were from February so President’s Day Sales were in high gear in the Democrat and Chronicle advertising supplements. Barack Obama, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were abundant and the kids used their heads in many different sizes paired with everything from basketballs to… just about anything you can imagine. Lots of paper, 2-D art supplies paired with lots of glue, lots of creative risk-taking and most importantly lots of laughter.
Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs. March is almost over… I choose to advocate all year round. Thought I would let those in on the secret who were wondering why so much art advocacy this month from Studio 215? If you have two minutes that’s all it takes to tell Congress you support the Arts and Arts Education! Please fill out survey created by Americans for the Arts by copying and pasting the web address below. It took me under two minutes. If you are an artist think of your educational experience with no classes in your favorite subject. Peace.
There are many decisions to be made regarding the “School’s Out for Summer Part 2” show starring artwork from selected students from Buckman Heights. I will get ideas from these students and then take them to our friends at the Hungerford Building and ask for feedback. It’s going to be a great. Their artwork and their personalities will shine. These are the role models at Buckman Heights. They make our school proud in the way they behave inside and outside our school. They make the world a better place and deserve this reward! More to come…
Eric Jensen, the author of Arts with the Brain in Mind, is neither an arts educator nor an artist, but a researcher. Jensen has compiled and reviewed research studies on the arts, the brain, and learning, which has convinced him that the arts are vital to educating our children and should be taught every day in our schools, just like language arts, math, science, and social studies. In effect, by conducting his review of the research, Jensen has become an advocate for the arts in education. Arts with the Brain in Mind serves as Jensen’s treatise for his newfound advocacy.
A month ago, one of my third grade students handed me a permission slip for the Third Grade Art Club. I found this funny, as I did not say I was having a club this marking term. The decision had been made for me. My fifth grade art helpers offered to help me out so a new club was born. When this one ends I will start the Plein Air drawing club I have when the weather gets nice. I could have started both at the same time. Who knew that it would be 80 degrees in Rochester on March 21st? My students must have had an inkling….