Summer Art Workshops began last week and I received my first opportunity to act as coordinator. The theme of my first workshop was Magical Beasts and How to Make Them. The teaching artist, Mark, has taught SAW before, which I found helpful because he was able to assist me in finding a routine. The projects in this workshop surrounded the idea of making monsters and beasts found in the Harry Potter book series.
My favorite experiences during the week were when we took the children around the museum to explore, discuss art, and find inspiration. If you are familiar with Harry Potter, you may remember the Maurader’s Map – a magical map that displays peoples’ whereabouts inside of Hogwarts. Students took a walk around the museum and created an outline of their very own Maurader’s Map of CMA. During this walk, we spent time analyzing the artwork.
It was neat to learn how to engage 4th and 5th grade students in gallery artwork. I found that asking questions such as, “What do you think the characters are saying to one another?” or “Or do you think that women is happy or sad and why?” got an excited response from the students. The questions help the students create a story or meaning behind a work that may otherwise be hard for them to decipher. The art that the students found most interesting or that they labeled as their “favorite” often was 3D and used mixed media.
I was further reminded that 4th and 5th grade age students can handle mature topics and complex emotions in paintings. One work depicted a war scene in which one man was in the act of killing another. Although obviously violent, the students could pick out the subtleties of the work such as the group of observers passively watching the scene.