Collaborative chalk mural brings us together.

18 09 2017
DSC_0464Paves 2017 Unity

“We have to get messy to make it beautiful.” – Art Educator Joy Schultz

We have been participating in a local city chalk art celebration for several years.  It supports a local organization which support students with funding and scholarships to continue to go to college or to supply arts educators much needed supplies.  The Thea Foundation was created by two parents who lost a talented artist daughter named Thea.  Her legacy lives on every day in the hearts and minds of young artists and dedicated arts educators.

I love participating in this event because it’s our first public art collab.  It starts with the first art club meeting when we decide a theme and brainstorm visual imagery to support the theme.  I let my student art club directors take the lead and I support them by moving the idea along.  I am lucky to have a well-trained and dedicated student leader, Junior Celia, for year two.  She was trained by her older sister who ran the art club before her for two years.  I strive to have the current leader mentor another future leader as the second year begins.  This helps maintain consistency and a lot less training on the spot from year to year.  The student leaders, Celia and Sophomore Bella, feel much more in control of the group and step-up in wonderful unique ways, with their own ambitions, to help the art club be engaged in the school and greater community.

Our theme this year was “Unity” and we had all of our members draw up many variations on the theme but we had lots of images that overlapped.  I needed someone to pull all the concepts together to help tell our story and support the theme.  Junior Madison was excited to contribute to the project but would not be able to attend the actual chalk mural event so she volunteered to pour over all the students ideas to create a cohesive design.

We combined our ideas with the lower school and middle school students to create one large design.  It was a hot sunny day and we had some students arrive early but needed to leave midway to attend other responsibilities so our students needed to work together to finish the final design.

We had students stop and evaluate the mural while it was evolving and they checked in on one another to see if they needed help.  The communication was between the art students of all ages was supportive and helpful.  The other two art educators and I made sure students took water breaks and sat in the shade for a breather.  I love that we had photographers pop by and ask to take photos of our students at work.  You could see the pride each student had in the mural.  We overheard comments about all the different world flags we added and the wonderful hot air balloons created by our youngest artists.  I love all of it but I was mostly struck by the students at the end that suggested that they hold hands around the globe for a group photo.  Right then and there, I realized they truly understood the purpose of the mural and the meaning of our theme.  “Unity/United”.  I could have not been more proud.

Paves the Way 2017 Unity

“Unity” Chalk Mural created by Episcopal Collegiate School art club students 1-12 grades – Art Educator Joy Schultz

 

Advertisements




Spring Time Fun

14 04 2017

17362603_10212160310023338_5728867741441382701_n

I really love seeing all the evolutions by students create from the choices they make in the art studio.  Offering choice through themes and artistic targets allows my students the opportunity to select areas of interest, materials to explore, and levels of inquiry.  I have witnessed students repeating the motif, materials, or theme to dig deeper and improve skills.  When the lesson was teacher directed, my students did very little connected thinking from one piece to the other, and often didn’t get another opportunity to explore the media a second time.  Now, I have students perfecting designs, experimenting, and pushing all kinds of possibilities.

thumbnail_FullSizeRender

I’m loving how independently my students find their supplies and move forward on their art work.  My students ask very good questions about the work such as “why are you doing that?, “why are you using that?”, “what does this mean?”.  My students expect the artist to know why you are creating, what is the purpose, and is it original.

I am excited about the possibilities of seeing my youngest students evolve within the choice based art program.  I have seen an increase in application of their knowledge that they researched to achieve goals they set for themselves to complete an artistic target.  In one semester the growth in student independence and initiative has grown.  The confidence to speak to the class about their ideas and possible creative solutions is gaining strength.  I’ve noticed an ease in which my students now preform tasks in the studio that required so much direction and set up; to a simple rhythm in the space.  In other academic areas my colleagues have noticed the cross-over and blending of our curricular areas merging them closer together.  This merger is being promoted not by me but my students.  My students are experiencing, seeing, and talking about the connections.  The importance in offering choice and self-directed learning is beginning to take hold.

Ben Triggered

The school year is quickly coming to a close and it will be time to celebrate all of our accomplishments.  We have done very well this year, claiming many awards, scholarships, and accolades.  I am most content in seeing my students happily working independently, caught up in deep thought, and working through a task they designed.  I love that several of my students have embraced an entrepreneural spirit, when thinking about their art.  They have taken to setting up websites and controlling their own social media brand showcasing their style of art.  I could not be more excited for the possibilities of this new found digital platform control, mixed with an ambition, expressing their voice, sharing their ideas/passions,  balanced with a creative drive…..there is not stopping them.  Art can change the world to be so much better.

I believe it.





ART CAN CHANGE THE WORLD

25 05 2013

I have had the opportunity to work with talented and compassionate artists throughout my career as an art teacher.  I have had several alums become art teachers, designers, and advocates for change.  I am so proud to have been a part of their development.  This is no exception.  Celeste Jennings is a junior in my art studio and she has been in my studio for three years.  She has participated in Curbside Couture as a designer and has blossomed through this experience.  Celeste can draw, paint, sculpt, sew, and just about anything else.

Image

Celeste Jennings “Broken Heart”

Celeste created a touching painting about the loss of her father. She completed the piece during the last three weeks of school.  She often has several works of art going on so it wasn’t a surprise to see her sprawled on the floor with a large piece of mat board with watercolor, ink, and scraps of paper strewn all around her work space.  As I was teaching a different class Celeste came in to work during her study hall.  I circulate around the studio all the time, so I glanced over to what she was creating and what I saw, jerked at my heart strings.  A beautiful silhouette with gradations of thinned India ink dripped down the long surface.  The addition of a realistically painted heart was placed in the chest area of the girl who is symbolic of Celeste.  I watched as she tore the heart into pieces and placed it scattered away from the figure like a broken heart.  The lines of ink that dripped down the composition completed the figure but also reminiscent of a gown.  “Very Celeste”  She glued the pieces down on the surface and added crumpled pink and red pieces of Oriental paper.  I did not say a word but I knew I would need to ask her about this imagery later.  I continued with my class and the bell rang.  Celeste kept working….I looked over to her work space and she added red and pink drips of watercolor streaming down from the girl’s heart.  I had to walk away.  Such a powerful image and it said so much about her feelings- so personal.  I watched her clean up and prop the image against an easel.  Celeste was happily putting things away.  She was very pleased with her painting.  I did not speak to her about it.  I couldn’t – not yet.

Image

OK Love- Progress Celeste Jennings

Days went by and Celeste left the painting alone and worked on a new design for a skirt.  I removed the painting from the easel and elevated to the front board.  Then during my prep Celeste came into work so we talked about her imagery.  She was not sad and was happy that I found her work so moving.  I told her that it was so different from her other works of art.  This was emotional and sad.  Celeste did not feel it was sad….she saw beauty.  Yes- it was beautiful …..a beautiful way to express her feelings about the loss of her father.  Celeste’s father passed away two years ago to a sudden heart attack.  We speak of him often and I feel I am beginning to know him through her.

Image

Artist Celeste Jennings

I posted the image on my twitter and on the Ning Art2.0 and it got the attention of a friend who is an art teacher in Wisconsin.  She offered a suggestion….”maybe adapt the lines at the bottom and turn it into a tornado.  Do something with this image to help the children in Moore, Oklahoma.  You know like you did with the Homes for Haiti project.”

It never entered my mind….I was still captivated by her original image about her father.  Yes- I could see the possibilities but I already work very hard to support my Homes for Haiti project and this is a personal image for Celeste.  This needs to be her project and her decision.  It was exam week so I did have the opportunity to go to lunch with Celeste and so I offered her the suggestion.  She lit up!  She was so excited to have the opportunity to help the children in Oklahoma.  We raced back to the studio and within three hours she completed the painting.

I documented the process for her and we discussed how she can make this project work.  She took to the ideas like a duck to water.  The whole time she spoke about her father and what he did and that he loved working in elementary schools so this is a perfect tribute to her dad.  So today Celeste has opened her Etsy store to sell poster prints of her painting and is in the process of selling t-shirts too.  She is taking this project on with her mother and brothers support.  Our school community has embraced her idea and is supporting her project too.  It is my wish and hope that many more will support her efforts to help the children in Moore, Oklahoma.  Proceeds from the sales will be donated to an organization in Moore, OK for immediate support for families and hopefully a sizable donation can be given to an elementary school to help pay for rebuilding the school with a safe room.

Image

Artist Celeste Jennings- OK Love Project

Just have to repeat myself again- ART CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

Link to Celeste’s Etsy Store

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignsbyCelesteJ

Support and Pass Along








%d bloggers like this: