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November 21, 2018 12:47 am

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DES' Celebration Of Art Begins May 2

Douglas Elementary students and local artists welcomed spring this year with a collaboration of arts, ideas, and fun. Returning for its fourthyear, the Visiting Artists Series provides a unique opportunity to expand the DES arts program with the contributions of local artists. Since 2010, artists have volunteered their time and worked with different grade levels at the school—from kindergarten through sixth grade.

Each year, artists are paired with a grade, working with students for several weeks. Artists guide and teach the classes, while allowing the children’s creative minds to run rampant within the art room walls.

Besides bringing their skills and expertise in a particular medium, artists communicate how art has influenced their lives. “Each artist shares with students their background and experience in the arts,” said Teresa O’Brien, program cofounder and local artist. “Some are full time, some part time. Either way, artists help paint a picture for students and demonstrate that art can always blend and fit into one’s life.”

Miranda Krajiniak introduced kindergartners to “anomaly” in art—identifying objects unlike one another. Students used PVC (white plastic) pipe and sticky foam to create an anomaly, using form or a shape’s orientation in space. Kindergartners were overhead sharing with their peers, “This is my anomaly,” as only a kindergartner can say the word “anomaly.” Once each student’s anomaly was complete, the class was divided into two teams to construct a group piece. The teams worked together, with each student using a rolling pin and ink to add his or her anomaly to the others. The result was a single abstract piece of
group art by each team.

James Brandess worked with first graders on a mixed media project—paintings with added texture. Students learned the basBesides bringing their skills and expertise in a particular medium, artists communicate how art has influenced their lives.

“Each artist shares with students their background and experience in the arts,” said Teresa O’Brien, program cofounder and local artist. “Some are full time, some part time. Either way, artists help paint a picture for students and demonstrate that art can always blend and fit into one’s life.”

Miranda Krajiniak introduced kindergartners to “anomaly” in art—identifying objects unlike one another. Students used PVC (white plastic) pipe and sticky foam to create an anomaly, using form or a shape’s orientation in space.

Kindergartners were overhead sharing with their peers, “This is my anomaly,” as only a kindergartner can say the word “anomaly.” Once each student’s anomaly was complete, the class was divided into two teams to construct a group piece. The teams worked together, with each student using a rolling pin and ink to add his or her anomaly to the others. The result was a single abstract piece of group art by each team.

James Brandess worked with first graders on a mixed media project—paintings with added texture. Students learned the basics of mixing color and setting up still life. They then glued gravel, sand, and dirt on their paintings. A regular to the Visiting Artist series, Jim is inspired by the students. “I love the expressions of pure joy on the kids’ faces when they shake the sand from the glue on their paintings, and they see the results.”

Joseph Gorris helped second graders channel their “super powers.” Students brainstormed in groups, and then combined their interests and ideas to create their story complete with individual characters and their powers. Once complete, the characters were placed together on a painted scene displaying the heroes within themselves.

    Ronna Alexander’s third-grade class found a clean way to create. She helped students understand three-dimensional form and texture with an easy-to-use object—soap. Students were introduced to functional art by taking their artwork home and using it like any other bar of soap. They were intrigued to see how the form changed with regular hand washing. Volunteering since the program began, Ronna said, “I am happy that I had the opportunity to work with the students for a fourth year.”  Inspired by her teachers in school, Jessica Bohus brought her experience with wire and glass sculpture to fourth graders. Students worked together to make a forest from pipe cleaners, creating life-sized animals, trees, and other plants. They learned to think sculpturally in three dimensions, but also to think creatively, solve problems and work productively as a team.

    Inspired by the beauty found in nature, Marcia Perry worked with fifth graders to find splendor in unfamiliar places, and then translate that to their artwork.  By using found objects such as pieces of wood
and wire, students created abstract sculptures.

    This year, the program expanded to include sixth graders. Teresa O’Brien led the sixth graders in creating self-portraits, encouraging her students to learn how to look into a mirror and create an image of themselves beyond the ordinary. 

    Funded by Dancing for the Arts and thanks to the efforts of Teresa O’Brien, retired DES art teacher Jody Northius, and current DES art teacher Danielle Sanregret, the program continues to grow and thrive. 

    This collaboration of “inspiration and artwork” can be viewed several times. The “Celebration of Art” event takes place Thursday, May 2, at Douglas Elementary School from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with visiting artists on hand and artwork lining the hallway.

At this event the DES Bake Club and teachers will provide treats to take home or enjoy for a $3 donation. Each year, the proceeds of these events are donated to a local charity. This year, Destination Imagination, a DES afterschool creative arts club, will be the beneficiary. Additionally, the sixth-grade Open House takes place Wednesday, May 15 at Saugatuck Center for the Arts from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Finally, artwork will be on display at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts gallery from May 13–18.

    “The beauty of this program is not only the artwork, but the student’s ability to collaborate and work together,” said Danielle Sanregret. “The experiences of the artist and the students’ enthusiasm inspire each other. It’s the local collaboration of community that gives back—in more ways that ever imagined.”

VISITING ARTISTS SERIES BACKGROUND

Founded in 2010, the Visiting Artists Series has brought together artists and local schoolchildren, helping to deepen the roots of our community and reinforce its legacy.




DES’ Celebration Of Art Begins May 2

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