August 10, 2017

Summer 2017 Student Art Gallery

 I had a couple of posts lined up for the blog but unfortunately my external hard drive (where I had moved the pictures) suddenly died on me. I was going to copy the data onto my new laptop the next day too! (BACK UP YOUR DATA ON MULTIPLE DRIVES!) I'm currently trying to recover the data, hence the lack of summer posting.  

With that said, summer school ended last week and I have a couple of weeks before the new school year starts! One of the great things about working for a special education non-public school is that I get some freedom regarding curriculum. For summers, I like to focus on art to make it a bit more exciting for my kids (and staff). The kids read about the artists, study their art work and then I give them a chance to create the artwork in the style of the artist. Our culminating project is learning how to set up an art gallery that is open for the entire school to view. Fun, right?!

This summer, we focused on four artists for, what I like to call, our "Artist Spotlight." We learned about Kazimir Malevich, Jean Arp, Jackson Pollock and Theo van Doesburg. I also had staff participate in creating the art and they really got into it! I'd like to think everyone had a really good time. Here's a quick look at how I broke down each art style and example pieces made by me.

For Kazimir Malevich, I cut out a bunch of geometric shapes out of construction paper and had the students use them to create their their own designs using the shapes and glue sticks. For students who had more motor-coordination, they were able to cut out their own shapes as well. Super quick and a no-mess art project!

Our wall of Malevich inspired art. Love the colors and diversity in design!

For Jean Arp, I bought some Crayola air-dry clay for the students/staff to use. The only requirement was that they needed to smooth out the edges of whatever they made as that was a characteristic of Arp's sculptures. Another staff member made this example above because I had my hands full that day helping the kids with their sculptures. After they made their piece, we had them come up with a title. This one is "Snails are Slow." I love it!

Our table of Arp inspired sculptures. Never underestimate a dollar store black table cloth to make things look polished!

Jackson Pollock was hands down one of our favorite art styles to recreate!  Who doesn't want to splatter and drip paint? It was a staff favorite and you bet we were all excited to bring ours home (haha!). I bought enough flat canvas from Daiso (a 3-pack was $1.50) for both our classroom and other service providers who wanted to join the fun. More prep work and supplies was needed for this activity compared to the others but it was so worth it!

I collected a bunch of card board boxes and newspaper to make this as mess-free as possible. I lined the card board boxes with newspaper and then placed a piece of canvas inside the box to keep the paint splatters contained. I squeezed acrylic paint into small disposable paper cups and diluted it with a little bit of water so it would drip. Then we dipped disposable wooden chopsticks (straws, popsicle sticks and skewers would also work fine but I just happened to have the chopsticks around) into the cups and splattered the paint into the box. We were only allowed to use three colors at a time to keep it manageable. 

These turned out so good! I felt like they could really be in a gallery :)

For Theo van Doesburg, we focused on solid bold lines used to form geometric shapes as the focal point for the art pieces. I cut long strips of black construction paper and let the students/staff decide if they wanted to add color or not.

Our van Doesburg wall!

One of our students decided to make a structure (van Doesburg also designed buildings) out of legos. I was super proud of him for thinking outside of the box! On each side of his structure was a book with all the art pieces and their artist's name so visitors could flip through to see who made each art piece.

I also had the students and staff pose for photos so I could make vintage looking photo strips to hang on the wall using Microsoft Word. I laminated them to make them extra sturdy.

Here is the overview of the gallery! We borrowed one of the main office's open rooms and ended up using the piano to hold the sculptures since it was already there. It was great seeing all the pieces come together and we got a lot of great feedback. It was a lot of work and planning but I loved it! 

I hope your summer has been fantastic so far! Fingers crossed that my data is recoverable and maybe I'll have a new post up sooner than usual.


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