Gillen Brewer had the honor of being invited to display our students' artwork in the Macy Gallery at Teachers College, Columbia University in November. Students from the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center and the School at Columbia University also participated in the show. Our students showed work in painting, collage, photography, and sculpture focusing on the different themes that they're learning about in Art (see descriptions below slideshow). It was a beautiful example focusing on the span on children's artistic development.
The Preschoolers engaged in explorations focusing on lines and shapes. Using both two- and three-dimensional art materials (e.g., oil pastels, paint, colored pencils, tape, wood, chalk, and paper), the children explored how lines can be manipulated to create new shapes and textures. The students explored pre-symbolic drawing and painting by experimenting with speed, direction, thickness, and big and small actions on paper. The children also learned about shapes by creating mixed media collages with torn subway maps, wooden block towers, and 3D objects. The classes enjoyed exploring the textural qualities of materials by touching paint with their hands and spilling or dumping objects and observing the cause and effect.
Transportation by the Coconut Trees and Strawberry Plants
At the beginning of the school year, the students were presented with the questions: “How do we travel?” “How do we get to school everyday?” “How do kids all over the world travel to school everyday?” Each child engaged in conversations regarding travel and New York City transportation and created their own “window” drawing on a class mural of a bus outside the art room. Students also created their own 3D vehicle, and then worked collaboratively to draw their own road map with oil sticks while incorporating collage materials in unique ways.
Dream Rooms, Important People, and Apartments by the Venus Fly Traps, Pepper Plants, and Beansprouts
The students in these classes created artworks based on experiences within their immediate world. The children created collages of their “dream rooms,” sculptures of people who are important to them, and city apartments. Working in both 2D and 3D media has allowed students to merge both objective and imaginative responses in their artwork as they gain an increased interest in the people and relationships in their families, and eventually, the community.
Photography by the Snapdragons
The students have been studying digital photography with iPads in art, which led to an uncovering of self-discovery and self-esteem. Students learned skills in choosing a subject, point of view, and editing in various apps that teach collage, toning, and special effects. These skills allowed the class to explore themes that were of interest to them and how digital photography can enhance or distort various objects. The group also explored several self-portrait assignments using hand-coloring techniques with paint pens to add text and pattern, which helped the students enhance the depth of their portraits with “surrealistic” characteristics to tell stories in regards to their emotions. The group also learned solar printing techniques, as well photomontage, which demonstrates expanding compositional and imagination skills, as well as humor.
Art in Motion by the Pitcher Plants and Baseball Plants
The students are working on a curriculum in art entitled “Art in Motion” which studies ways in which artists capture movement. The students in these classes participate in martial arts twice a week and made connections to art making through the physicality of sports and playing charades in class. The classes interpreted this experience by practicing figurative and gesture drawing with various drawing and painting materials, as well as drawing facial features and using their classmates as models. During our painting unit, students demonstrated an understanding that relationships between objects and their backgrounds in art elicit an emotional response.