NOT FOR COPY CATS: TES, PLAS students participate in art program
Published 2:00 am Saturday, October 3, 2015
And, that was quite all right, even with visitors in the classrooms – important visitors.
Noted Birmingham artist Darrell Ezekiel, Alabama Alliance for the Arts Education Director Tara Sartorius and Johnson Center for the Arts Director Vicki Pritchett, were as active as the students, maybe more so.
The second and third grade students at Troy Elementary and Pike Liberal Arts were participating in an in-school program Monday that was an extension of the annual ArtBridges Summer Teachers Workshop sponsored by the Johnson Center for the Arts.
“It was a happy time of learning,” Pritchett said. “The classroom visits were step two in the ArtBridges approach to the arts. In step one this summer, we brought Bobby Horton, well-known Birmingham musician and songwriter, and Darrell Ezekiel to the ArtBridges workshop to demonstrate to the teachers how music and art can be incorporated into math classes, into reading, history — all subjects. The teachers then go back to their schools with that background knowledge to use in their classrooms and to share.”
The visits to classrooms in the area, including Pike County and Zion Chapel high schools, were step two of the ArtBridges summer workshop program.
“In step two, we bring an artist and the education director into the classrooms of the teachers that come to the workshop so the teachers get to see what they learned at the workshop in practice in the classroom. The students get to meet the artists and benefit from their teaching.”
Pritchett said the art classes are conducted in the “everyday classrooms,” not in art classes.
“The purpose is to show teachers how art can be used in what subject area they are teaching,” she said. “Art in the classroom is a wonderful teaching tool. Darrell Ezekiel and Tara Sartorius did an outstanding job of motivating the students as they learned about symmetry, balance and reflection.”
Ezekiel shared with the students how he developed an art project using scrap quilts.
“After my grandmother died, I found several old quilts that were in pieces,” he said. “I couldn’t throw them away so I took patchworks from the quilts and overlaid them with pictures of pigs and chickens and created works of art.”
Sartorius told that students that art is story and that their artwork can tell their stories.
“It was exciting to watch the students creating art,” Pritchett said. “They learned about symmetry and balance. The used mirrors to better understand reflection. They learned a new word, collage. Each student created his or her own collage using what they had learned. Many of them had a story to go with their artwork.
“What was so exciting was that this one lesson could be used as successfully in the grade two as it was in grade 12. We saw the lesson in action on both grade levels. It was very impressive in what the students learned and the interest it generated.”
The greatest lesson and the most important understanding gained from the lesson was that creation is not a copycat — that art is not a carbon copy of what someone else has done, Pritchett said.
“When you create art, it doesn’t matter if you go outside the lines,” she said. “It’s yours and it should be different. Art is not tested and it is not judge. It is your own creation. The students understood that and they were smiling and having fun creating art and that was a big deal.”
Step three of the ArtBridges experience will come when the students’ artwork is on exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts during TroyFest in the spring.
That will be the culminating event of the 2015-2016 ArtBridges Summer Workshop.
“And how exciting that exhibit will be for the students, their parents and teachers and the Troy and Pike County communities,” Pritchett said.