I am extremely fortunate to have a very committed, well connected, passionate community that supports the arts in a very big way. Each year they raise funds to bring in a visiting artist that works with students to make a communal artistic experience or project. Sometimes it's a poet, other years it's a visual artist. This past year, I was fortunate enough to have an incredible amount of freedom when planning the Artist in Residence with our PTA (parent teacher association).
I decided to make the most of our budget and go all in. Now, looking back on this - it was a bold decision to create such a large project, much of which rested on my shoulders knowing I would be 9 months pregnant when all this would come together. But, I wouldn't change a thing, The artists that we worked with were incredible and the experiences and outcomes that the students experienced were nothing short of spectacular. Below is the description of one of the three artist in residence experiences that I built for our elementary students.
Before I left on maternity leave I had a really great time printmaking with fourth graders. We were wrapping up our art and culture discovery unit by exploring the process of gyotaku. (Click HERE for a pinterest board full of art and culture from Asia, including some great gyotaku resources). Kids loved learning about the process, and it lead to a great discussion on printmaking.
Our project that resulted from our discussion was a basic relief print using good ol' styrofoam. This group of fourth graders had not experienced printmaking in any form before so I wanted an easy to use, guarenteed success material but a more sophisticated result, so I pushed the engraving and etching examples and held high expectations for lots of fine detail.
We are on week 2 of our artist in residence. Last week 3-5th grade worked with a professional photographer on a project inspired by Minimiam and this week K-2nd grade is working with an animator to create a stop motion animation inspired by Calder's Circus. Below you can see a quick trailer that I put together to showcase our work in progress. It's been a ton of fun and I can't wait to see the end product with all the acts and sounds added.
In the fourth grade we are starting a printmaking unit. I wanted to show students where the printmaking process would take them so I made a super short video to help explain why the time and effort would be worth it in the end.
Short video demo on printmaking on styrofoam