March is Youth Fine Arts Month in District 833!
I still remember my elementary school art class. In a room saturated with mingling scents of paint, clay, glue, marker, colored chalks and drying art. A haven to explore creative forms of expression. A place to receive the gift of art education.
The gift keeps giving. Tonight, from 5:30-7 p.m., is the annual District Elementary Art Show open house at the District Service Center in Cottage Grove.
I spoke with art teacher Jessica Frisco, who’s pulled together two thousand pieces of student artwork for another show this week: the Fine Arts Exhibit at Bailey Elementary.
She says her students are excited to share their artwork, which she’s been busy helping them prepare for display.
The kids frame and title their own work while Mrs. Frisco teaches them how to maintain focus on the art, not the framing. She incorporates math concepts like measuring, understanding parallel lines and symmetry.
Frisco encourages some students to write an artist statement to accompany their artwork. Three paragraphs expressing what the artist believes is significant about their work.
The purpose is to encourage self-reflection and a thoughtful review of the artistic process. Kids demonstrate their comprehension of art vocabulary when using it to describe their work. But first, they studied sample artist statements. This allowed Mrs. Frisco to also touch on the injustice of plagiarism.
Classroom art topics include technique, history, vocabulary, production, and art critique. All art in Bailey’s art show gets critiqued by children who’re learning to describe, analyze, interpret and evaluate what they see. This process helps develop valuable skills that the National Art Education Association believes are critical to our current era—a visual age.
Research suggests that art’s emphasis on aesthetics, creativity and innovation is equally important to a child’s education as hard sciences.
Once framed and critiqued, artwork for Bailey’s show is hung on partitions in the school’s commons. The entire exhibit takes Mrs. Frisco and a volunteer nearly 30 hours to set up!
The show also includes artwork submitted by Bailey Elementary School teachers.
Mrs. Frisco gives the teachers an art assignment. This year’s assignment was artist trading cards. A worldwide phenomenon complete with dedicated websites!
Her students have been participating in this trend by creating and trading artist trading cards right in her classroom. A great way to engage kids in art appreciation.
Mrs. Frisco commitment to inspiring kids toward creativity is remarkable.
She tells of her joy whenever helping a child who might feel misunderstood or angry to learn self-control, coping and creative problem solving through art.
In an academic world often focused on testing and fact memorization, Mrs. Frisco hopes children also learn to give themselves permission to be creative. The atmosphere in her classroom, much like the art room of my childhood, conveys a sense of reduced anxiety. A refuge of creative expression. Where kids receive the gift of art education.
An evening of art appreciation including visual art, music and dance in honor of Fine Arts Month will be held at Bailey Elementary from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 22.