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April 11, 2017 How to Host a Family Art Night By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Our school has amazing programs, and the art program is one of the very best of them. We are not an art magnet school, but let me tell you, we sure could keep up with one! Every year the arts at Andrus Elementary just keep getting better and better.

    I think one of the reasons for that is because for many years we have had a parent-led art program at our school. This program allows parents to collaborate with teachers to bring art education into the classroom — even if they have no formal art training. Classrooms have parents who volunteer their time to come in and teach dedicated art lessons to the students. Some come in weekly, while others come in biweekly or even once a month — whatever works best for both the teacher and the volunteer. My students (and I) love the days our art parents come in! Utilizing parents as art teachers can be a wonderful place to begin bringing the arts into your school.

     

    Art has evolved over the last four years at our school. We now have a Family Art Night every spring. Our art night was just a couple of weeks ago, but I am still inspired by the beautiful work that is displayed throughout the school. The art-lined hallways are breathtaking and the kids have developed a true appreciation for the beauty and variety each piece embodies.

    These two ladies are the masterminds behind the Family Art Night at our school. Kim and Whitney are two creative and talented women who have a strong desire to share their passion for the arts with others. Family Art Night has given our school a built-in support for the arts and has encouraged more parental involvement — all because of these two talented women!

    I asked Kim and Whitney if they would be willing to share their strategies and ideas to motivate others because of the success we have had at our school. These Family Art Night coordinators were beyond the moon excited to have a platform to share their passion of the arts with others. Prepare yourself for some great tips, advice and inspiration.

    Kim and Whitney’s Family Art Night Tips:

    Momentum Takes Time

    As this is our fourth year of doing the art show, we have begun to realize the power of time. With each year the displays and quality of art improves. We find more spaces covered and more classrooms doing more than one project to display. We add a little more each year. This year we added some performances including dance, music, and poetry reading. The children volunteered and preformed in 10-minute increments.

    Our school counselor’s husband is an artist and we felt blessed to have him set up his easel and paint during the show. The children were able to watch an artist in action to see how a masterpiece can unfold.  

    The key to success is plenty of advance notice and clear instructions for the teachers and their art helpers. As the years pass, the teachers have figured out the intricacies and know what to do. We help with announcements via the PTA and signage and flyers for students to take home. As the art goes up in the halls, the momentum it builds and the delight it gives the kids is the best advertisement for the event. The children feel ownership of their art and the displays and want to share that with their families.

    We chose to do the show the week before spring break and have found that to be a good time of year. February also works well as spring sports are not presenting a conflict yet, but you just have to watch out for too much “heart art” with Valentine’s Day being celebrated during this month.  

    Art Club

    Another effort we tried this year was having an after-school art club for our fourth and fifth graders. We sent a permission slip home with students for this extra-curricular activity. We had them create some Henri Matisse cutouts and Jackson Pollack spray bottle art. We then used those large pieces to line our entry hallway and highlight some of the master artists.  We used simple butcher paper and just everyday art media. The energy created by a big installation in the common spaces of a school is powerful.  

    An easy shortcut we found when we wanted to frame the art was black crepe paper or streamers. We purchased a few rolls of it and then just stapled it around our big art pieces and "pow!" — we had a crisp frame that took no time but made the art pop and look more “museum-like.” We found that adding some history and a photo of the artist we are celebrating is another way to add education to our art night.

    We also did a Kandinsky tree featuring the stacked circles that Wassily Kandinsky was famous for.

    The Ceiling Installation

    In our school we have a main hallway. We love to do a simple ceiling installation that really transforms the space. This year we found a Pinterest suggestion and ran with it. We cut out shapes of sea turtles on butcher paper and placed them on cheap, light colored dollar store plastic tablecloths. And then we attached the tablecloths to the ceiling in a draped fashion. The ceiling lights illuminated the art and added that new experience to a hallway that is the main thoroughfare in our school. The effect was very simple, but impactful as you entered the art show through this avenue. In years past we also did a Dale Chihuly installation of starched coffee filters on butcher paper and it was super successful (also a Pinterest idea).  

     

    The Power of a Portrait

    One key installation of every good art show is the portrait gallery. To see all the different styles of portraits and how the different children view themselves is inspiring. It is a fantastic way to teach the elements of balance and proportion even to the youngest artists. We install them all in one space and have added captions such as "These Are the Faces of Art at Andrus.” The kids love to find their portrait during the event. It is a way for them to celebrate their own facial characteristics as well as artistic skills.  

     

    Collaboration 

    We do a collaborative art project each year and this year was a huge success. We asked each child at school to create a feather. We distributed photocopies of a feather to show scale and to be used to copy if desired. Each child at school used whatever medium the teacher decided (markers won out) and then they decorated their feather.

    We gathered those together and attached them to a huge pair of wings that the kids could stand in front of for a photo opp. The children know they won't get their feather back, but there were many “oohs” and “aahs” as we put up the project. The major inspiration for this project came from a blog post by art teacher Cassie Stephens.

     

    Whitney's son and Kim's son

     

    It is amazing how something beautiful can be created when we all work together. That is the power of the collaborative project: how each person plays a part in creating something spectacular. The school-wide effort is placed in the most prominent spot at the art night, so everyone can share and celebrate the school’s efforts.

    At the completion of our Family Art Night, I am once again completely grateful for the time, talent, and dedication that our wonderful families and volunteers pour into our school. They are an integral part of what makes working and going to school at Andrus so special. It is an honor to be a part of this community.

     

    Making Special Education Students Feel Special

    Speaking of special — our Extended Resource Room is just that! We have the most amazing special education teacher and she really is an angel to the sweet children in her class. She fosters so much love in that room. When you are in Mrs. Lewis’s room, you can feel the magic. Her staff is equally incredible and their hearts are also as big as they come. When I asked Mrs. Lewis about how she and her students prepare for Family Art Night, the is what she had to say:

    “We utilize art projects in our classroom as a catalyst for skill development to help teach life lessons for students with exceptionalities. Our annual “Art Night” inspirational design was from one of our student’s favorite books, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which he reads almost every day.

     

    Students in our classroom that need specialized support love to plan our annual art projects, as they can express themselves in their very own way. For this project, our students learned how to crochet to create the spider web for this large art project.  Through our art planning, we embed the artistic process with fine motor skills.

    This was the mural that the students in the Extended Resource room made. This mural was inspired by one of the student’s interest in plants and Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed. Isn’t it a gorgeous piece?

    With art, there are no right or wrong answers, it is simply created, shared, and appreciated.  Embracing the students’ work and celebrating their growth is an essential part of art education for children with special needs.”

     

    See these ribbons? Mrs. Lewis’s room wins every year. At first I thought the Family Art Night committee chose a winner each year. Yes, their work was always exceptional and worthy of that coveted first place title, so I never even thought twice about the consecutive wins. It wasn’t for a couple of years that I came to understand that Mrs. Lewis purchases ribbons and a trophy each year and makes her class be known to all, that they truly are winners. As I write this, I am fighting back tears. It is a level of special that cannot ever come close to being communicated with mere words. That Extended Resource room, those kids, and that wonderful team just melt my heart.

    For more information on hosting a Family Art Night, please visit “Deep Space Sparkle” for great additional ideas. It’s one of my very favorite art websites to use!

    That’s ME!

     

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do to incorporate art in your classroom. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, and beauty all around!

    Hugs,

    Shari

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our school has amazing programs, and the art program is one of the very best of them. We are not an art magnet school, but let me tell you, we sure could keep up with one! Every year the arts at Andrus Elementary just keep getting better and better.

    I think one of the reasons for that is because for many years we have had a parent-led art program at our school. This program allows parents to collaborate with teachers to bring art education into the classroom — even if they have no formal art training. Classrooms have parents who volunteer their time to come in and teach dedicated art lessons to the students. Some come in weekly, while others come in biweekly or even once a month — whatever works best for both the teacher and the volunteer. My students (and I) love the days our art parents come in! Utilizing parents as art teachers can be a wonderful place to begin bringing the arts into your school.

     

    Art has evolved over the last four years at our school. We now have a Family Art Night every spring. Our art night was just a couple of weeks ago, but I am still inspired by the beautiful work that is displayed throughout the school. The art-lined hallways are breathtaking and the kids have developed a true appreciation for the beauty and variety each piece embodies.

    These two ladies are the masterminds behind the Family Art Night at our school. Kim and Whitney are two creative and talented women who have a strong desire to share their passion for the arts with others. Family Art Night has given our school a built-in support for the arts and has encouraged more parental involvement — all because of these two talented women!

    I asked Kim and Whitney if they would be willing to share their strategies and ideas to motivate others because of the success we have had at our school. These Family Art Night coordinators were beyond the moon excited to have a platform to share their passion of the arts with others. Prepare yourself for some great tips, advice and inspiration.

    Kim and Whitney’s Family Art Night Tips:

    Momentum Takes Time

    As this is our fourth year of doing the art show, we have begun to realize the power of time. With each year the displays and quality of art improves. We find more spaces covered and more classrooms doing more than one project to display. We add a little more each year. This year we added some performances including dance, music, and poetry reading. The children volunteered and preformed in 10-minute increments.

    Our school counselor’s husband is an artist and we felt blessed to have him set up his easel and paint during the show. The children were able to watch an artist in action to see how a masterpiece can unfold.  

    The key to success is plenty of advance notice and clear instructions for the teachers and their art helpers. As the years pass, the teachers have figured out the intricacies and know what to do. We help with announcements via the PTA and signage and flyers for students to take home. As the art goes up in the halls, the momentum it builds and the delight it gives the kids is the best advertisement for the event. The children feel ownership of their art and the displays and want to share that with their families.

    We chose to do the show the week before spring break and have found that to be a good time of year. February also works well as spring sports are not presenting a conflict yet, but you just have to watch out for too much “heart art” with Valentine’s Day being celebrated during this month.  

    Art Club

    Another effort we tried this year was having an after-school art club for our fourth and fifth graders. We sent a permission slip home with students for this extra-curricular activity. We had them create some Henri Matisse cutouts and Jackson Pollack spray bottle art. We then used those large pieces to line our entry hallway and highlight some of the master artists.  We used simple butcher paper and just everyday art media. The energy created by a big installation in the common spaces of a school is powerful.  

    An easy shortcut we found when we wanted to frame the art was black crepe paper or streamers. We purchased a few rolls of it and then just stapled it around our big art pieces and "pow!" — we had a crisp frame that took no time but made the art pop and look more “museum-like.” We found that adding some history and a photo of the artist we are celebrating is another way to add education to our art night.

    We also did a Kandinsky tree featuring the stacked circles that Wassily Kandinsky was famous for.

    The Ceiling Installation

    In our school we have a main hallway. We love to do a simple ceiling installation that really transforms the space. This year we found a Pinterest suggestion and ran with it. We cut out shapes of sea turtles on butcher paper and placed them on cheap, light colored dollar store plastic tablecloths. And then we attached the tablecloths to the ceiling in a draped fashion. The ceiling lights illuminated the art and added that new experience to a hallway that is the main thoroughfare in our school. The effect was very simple, but impactful as you entered the art show through this avenue. In years past we also did a Dale Chihuly installation of starched coffee filters on butcher paper and it was super successful (also a Pinterest idea).  

     

    The Power of a Portrait

    One key installation of every good art show is the portrait gallery. To see all the different styles of portraits and how the different children view themselves is inspiring. It is a fantastic way to teach the elements of balance and proportion even to the youngest artists. We install them all in one space and have added captions such as "These Are the Faces of Art at Andrus.” The kids love to find their portrait during the event. It is a way for them to celebrate their own facial characteristics as well as artistic skills.  

     

    Collaboration 

    We do a collaborative art project each year and this year was a huge success. We asked each child at school to create a feather. We distributed photocopies of a feather to show scale and to be used to copy if desired. Each child at school used whatever medium the teacher decided (markers won out) and then they decorated their feather.

    We gathered those together and attached them to a huge pair of wings that the kids could stand in front of for a photo opp. The children know they won't get their feather back, but there were many “oohs” and “aahs” as we put up the project. The major inspiration for this project came from a blog post by art teacher Cassie Stephens.

     

    Whitney's son and Kim's son

     

    It is amazing how something beautiful can be created when we all work together. That is the power of the collaborative project: how each person plays a part in creating something spectacular. The school-wide effort is placed in the most prominent spot at the art night, so everyone can share and celebrate the school’s efforts.

    At the completion of our Family Art Night, I am once again completely grateful for the time, talent, and dedication that our wonderful families and volunteers pour into our school. They are an integral part of what makes working and going to school at Andrus so special. It is an honor to be a part of this community.

     

    Making Special Education Students Feel Special

    Speaking of special — our Extended Resource Room is just that! We have the most amazing special education teacher and she really is an angel to the sweet children in her class. She fosters so much love in that room. When you are in Mrs. Lewis’s room, you can feel the magic. Her staff is equally incredible and their hearts are also as big as they come. When I asked Mrs. Lewis about how she and her students prepare for Family Art Night, the is what she had to say:

    “We utilize art projects in our classroom as a catalyst for skill development to help teach life lessons for students with exceptionalities. Our annual “Art Night” inspirational design was from one of our student’s favorite books, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which he reads almost every day.

     

    Students in our classroom that need specialized support love to plan our annual art projects, as they can express themselves in their very own way. For this project, our students learned how to crochet to create the spider web for this large art project.  Through our art planning, we embed the artistic process with fine motor skills.

    This was the mural that the students in the Extended Resource room made. This mural was inspired by one of the student’s interest in plants and Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed. Isn’t it a gorgeous piece?

    With art, there are no right or wrong answers, it is simply created, shared, and appreciated.  Embracing the students’ work and celebrating their growth is an essential part of art education for children with special needs.”

     

    See these ribbons? Mrs. Lewis’s room wins every year. At first I thought the Family Art Night committee chose a winner each year. Yes, their work was always exceptional and worthy of that coveted first place title, so I never even thought twice about the consecutive wins. It wasn’t for a couple of years that I came to understand that Mrs. Lewis purchases ribbons and a trophy each year and makes her class be known to all, that they truly are winners. As I write this, I am fighting back tears. It is a level of special that cannot ever come close to being communicated with mere words. That Extended Resource room, those kids, and that wonderful team just melt my heart.

    For more information on hosting a Family Art Night, please visit “Deep Space Sparkle” for great additional ideas. It’s one of my very favorite art websites to use!

    That’s ME!

     

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do to incorporate art in your classroom. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, and beauty all around!

    Hugs,

    Shari

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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