By Striker, Susan
School Arts , Vol. 99, No. 4
This project provided great publicity for my literature-based art program, and I thought it would interest the readers of School Arts.
Early in the school year members of the Arts in Education Committee of our school P.T.A. showed me a note card that had a collection of children's art on it. They asked me if I would be willing to work with them on a fund raising project. The idea was to have each child in all of my classes contribute a work of art, so that each class in the school could have specially designed stationery note cards with every class member's picture included on it. I thought it was a great idea!
Working with the Community
The committee gave me complete artistic freedom, but offered invaluable technical assistance and leg work. Each class had a different number of students in it, so the parents worked out the mathematical computations to determine the format and proportions of the drawings made by each class. They also dealt with the mechanics of copying, scanning, and reducing the children's art and dealing with the printer. They even came into the artroom and cut the drawing paper to the correct size for each class.
Once the project got under way, the biggest problem for me was catching up with those children who had been absent on the day we did the project, and children new to the school.
For the artwork, I did exercises that I would ordinarily be doing with my classes anyway, so it did not cause any interruption in our planned curriculum.
The kindergarten painted with primary colors, the first graders painted with blue and yellow paint and were challenged to create a third color on their own. We read Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni before painting. It is a wonderful book about two friends, "blue" and "yellow," who hug and turn green.
The second graders were experimenting with watercolor paints paints on wet paper. The third graders were learning about warm colors. We read The Indian Paintbrush by Tomie de Paola, which inspired the children to create a work of art using the colors of a sunset.
Our fourth graders read Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt. It is about Camille, the young child whose family befriended van Gogh when he lived in Arles, and who gave him a bunch of sunflowers which van Gogh immortalized in paint. We studied the many sunflower drawings and paintings of Vincent van Gogh and then created sunflowers of their own in tissue paper collage.
The fifth graders had just completed a unit about Molas, the applique work of the Cuna Indians of Panama. …