Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Art Show 2012 - We Love Art!

There were a few frantic moments getting everything ready but somehow it all came together.  The children were excited, the parents were happy... the teachers were nervous but smiling!  The joy filling the halls of East Elementary was contagious!  Children were singing, performing math chants, reciting poetry, showing off artwork, dancing joyously and sharing the beauty of childhood with their families.  As I walked down the halls greeting parents and feeling the positive energy all around me, I just tried to take it all in.  I happened to overhear a brief conversation in the "yellow" section of the color wheel hall.  A 2nd grade girl was showing her self portrait to her family.

2nd grade self portraits drawn in the style of Modigliani.  

Parent:  "You drew this?"

Child:  "Yes... and I painted it too. I mixed my own colors!"

Parent:  "Really?  It is so beautiful!  I don't know how you did it. "

Child:   "You could do it."

Parent:   "I wouldn't know where to start."

Child:   "Oh, you just do it!"

As I listened to this conversation and heard the confidence in the little girl's voice, I had to think how much has changed in the last four years as our school participated in the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTS/ALP).

Prior to this program, I taught 3rd grade to students who hardly knew how to draw. It was obvious that they were hungry for artistic expression and I found myself taking classes from Mimi Thomas to earn my art endorsement.  Mimi came to the school, watched me teach and gave me suggestions.   As I  started integrating more art into my lessons, I saw my students flourish in the arts.  I started using visual arts, music, dance and drama as part of my daily instruction.

The year that started it all... studying line and shape.

My artsy little 3rd graders making a history timeline!

In early spring of 2008,  the legislature passed a landmark bill creating the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program.  It hardly seemed possible that we could be one of the schools that received funding for this 4 year research based program.  Yet, with community support, we applied for the program and we were accepted!

The first year of our program was difficult.  Our school was filled to capacity and Mr. Heaton wasn't sure where he would put the art program.  I ended up in the Title One room sharing a classroom with special education.  I still wonder how we crammed 4 tables into half a classroom and ran the program!  As a school, we were trying to feel our way through it. When the first few teachers came in for art lessons, they didn't quite know what to expect and neither did I!   Together, we started learned more about the side-by-side teaching model and we started working together to make our program a success.

In four years, have we changed the climate of our school this much?  Hard to believe, but true.

We want to thank Beverley Taylor Sorenson for the gift she has given to the children of this community.

This year, the walls of our school have been transformed from a drab brown to brilliant colors.    Starting by the office, we discover our "sunflower" hall... celebrating the artistic style of Vincent Van Gogh and then we begin our artistic journey throughout the school.

Silky Sunflowers and Swirly Skies

The main hall by the art room is now a giant color wheel!  We start with fire, enjoying the warmth and beauty of all the warm colors as we travel into WARM-TOWN.

 This is a theme for our kindergarten art.

Entering our color wheel hall with first grade sun and moon art.

Walking down the hall the day after the art show.

Modigliani Portraits and Writing

Duck Stamp Contest Entries

As we walk down the hall, the yellow slides into yellow green and light blue and and gradually we cool down until we end up in the icy icy regions of COOL-VILLE!

Alphabet Under Construction

The moon is cool....

Icy Snowflakes and Winter Pictures

Gyotaku Fish Prints

Color Wheel Flower Gardens

The color wheel hall has been fun for all the children and has turned into a teaching tool as we discuss warm and cool colors.

In the rest of the school there is still lots of art to see!

Down by the GYM the first grade has beautiful Eric Carle Art, Kadinsky Color Wheel Circles, and more beautiful flower gardens.

The Kindergarten graced us with beautiful paintings of sunflowers, radial abstract art, patriotic art and Eric Carle butterflies as well as kindergarten writing projects!

The 2nd grade hall is filled with art about space, spring flowers, habitats, self portraits and WRITING!    This year, as our emphasis shifted to the language arts, every classroom teacher was encouraged to help students interact with their art and write more about their art.  Almost every teacher displayed multiple writing projects.

Sunflower Poetry

Hubble Telescope Pictures

Habitat Line Art

In the commons  and down by the gym you will find amazing chalk murals created by the 2nd grade!  When comparing these to murals created the first year of our program, you will be stunned to see the progress the children have made in observational drawing.

Mrs. Embleton's 2nd Grade Community

Mrs. Wall's 2nd Grade Mural

Mrs. Marx's 2nd Grade Mural

Finally, the 1st grade hall is filled with many unique art projects developed by the teachers themselves.  Many of these are independent of our regular art classes.  From shaded spheres, to sun and shadow art, Easter poems, kites and math cities, the first grade teachers worked hard to create unique art that ties in with the reading, math and science core curriculum.  I will try to highlight some of these projects in future blog  posts.


If you haven't come to the school yet, please come!  The displays will still be up for another week or two and you really won't want to miss it! 

We especially want to thank our administration for their enthusiastic support of this program, the PTA for being so generous with their grants and financial support, and also the school fundraiser which provided the money for our art supplies.  I want to thank the parents for their positive words of support and for helping the classroom teachers mount the art, put together the alphabet books and create beautiful displays.

Without all of you, this would not be possible.

In final tribute, we would like to thank Beverley Taylor Sorenson for her vision and tireless efforts in bringing color into the lives of our children through her foundation.  For more information about Beverley and the BTS/ALP please visit her website: http://www.artworksforkids.org/

We truly are proud to be a Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program School!

Mrs. Sampson, BTS/ALP Visual Art Specialist, East Elementary School


Unknown said...

Wow! Super blog with all the pictures to support it! What wonderful creativity - thanks to your efforts and the Beverly Taylor Sorenson program, the students are really able to express artistic talents at an early age!

Stephen Greene said...

Proof that 'Art' leads learning. Rather than deemphasizing, even eliminating art programs in US schools, we would do better to allow the innate, artistic intuition in all children, (all humans), to be the framework for learning.

Creative expression is fundamental to individual development and success in all academic disciplines. Math, science, writing and logical thinking are on display in this glorious exhibition.

Congratulations to the children and to the talented, dedicated Artist who opened their hearts to a universe of possibility.

Elizabeth Sampson said...

Thank you for your support and wonderful comments. The art show is a highlight of the year and this program means so much to the children of our community.