Sunday, March 28, 2010

Art Show Ideas

Here are some tips, from 11 years of organizing and presenting a HUGE arts show.

1. Have students sign their names to a label and affix to the projects. I find that if the students write directly on to the project, they write very large. This allows them to re-do it if they aren't satisfied.

2. Have a comment box with index cards available so parents can leave positive messages for the artists.

3. Provide a few easy make-and-take art/craft activites for the younger students. They don't have to be elaborate- kids love making "stuff"!

4. Hang a project description beside each display so that parents can better understand the projects.

5. Take the time to mount the kids' projects on to a railroad board or nice background paper so they will have one nicely matted project for the year.

6. I start at the beginning of the year and save at least 4 pieces of artwork from each project we do. I keep track of which project I have kept for each student in my gradebook.

7. Hang at least one project for each student. I know- huge task! But, I was in a school where I overheard the following:

Parent: "Where is your artwork?"
Student: "Mine isn't good enough to hang."

Not happening in my school!

8. I put a sticker and a label on the back of each project I hang in the show. The label says "Artist of the Week!" with the date. Kids love stickers and they love being chosen "Artist of the Week".

9. Send a slip of paper home a few days before the art show to remind students and parents which projects they have displayed. I have found that I only get asked a handful of times where the kids' projects are since I have started doing this.

10. Announce that student artwork may be taken home at the end of the night and you will have far less to clean up. This year, I only had to remove 1/3 of the art that was displayed.

Ok, I know many of you hold annual art shows, so share all of your great ideas!

Spring Celebration of the Arts- Fine Arts Night

We recently held our annual art show at the high school. Although I am only posting the pictures of my students' work, we also had musical performances, dance, and other visual arts displays.

You have to start somewhere! I post these photos because I love to see how the show progresses. What begins as a room full of tape-balled artwork slowly becomes a gallery of student masterpieces! We begin at 10:00 AM and finished at 3:30 PM, which made me veeerrrry happy, as we usually finish around 5, as people are arriving.

Yep, that's me, hard at work.

I should have taken more photos of these Laurel Burch animal collages because they were gorgeous. My 1st graders really impressed me this year. You can see the story describing the project posted to the left of the display. Many parents told me that they enjoy reading these and better understanding what we create in art class.

Romare Bearden inspired collages made by 4th Grade.

These 4th Grade projects took FOREVER to finish, but the results are quite striking. The self-portrait "Hogmawg" is based on the Ohio artist Aminah Brenda Robinson.

Vincent VanGogh Sunflowers by 1st Graders. Yes, 1st Graders and they were the first projects of the school year, so they were young 1st graders. Never underestimate the abilities of your students!

Modern Winter Treescapes by 2nd grade. I snagged this cool lesson from the "Art Projects For Kids" blog.

The Winter Birch Trees made by 4th Grade are always a hit with parents. We used several techniques to make these.

Piet Mondrian Primary Color collages- Kinders

I love taking photos of parents and kids looking at the artwork.

Hundertwasser's Neighborhoods, based on the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and created in oil pastel.

Kinders penguin collages. I saw this idea on Artsonia, a great place to get ideas! Notice that I used snowflake printed wrapping paper to cover the display board. This is an inexpensive way to add some pizazz to your displays.

Ceramic Owls by first grade. Yet another idea that I "appropriated" from Artsonia. From one of my favorite school sites- Alum Creek.

Printed Pointsettias based on Georgia O'Keeffe and made by using cut styrofoam shapes to print.

A few ceramic projects- Kinders pinch pots and 4th grade cityscapes. Not sure I will do the cityscapes again, but it was an experiment.

Kinders "Have A Heart collages

My husband sent me these gorgeous flowers AND he designed them! Last year, I received a paint palette that had Gerbers as the paint splotches. He is so creative. *smile*

Faith Ringgold Story Quilts by 2nd Grade. Students painted a place they would love to fly over and claim, like Cassie Lightfoot in the book Tar Beach. They added fabric borders and wrote a story around the edge. A digital photo of them flying was added to the sky. This was a first try project. It might be a keeper...

These metal masks with hanging beads and clay faces were the hit of the show. The clay faces were inspired by the artist Kimmy Cantrell. They were made by 5th grade.

Most of my displays are arranged by project so that I can hang a sign explaining them. However, I always hang the Young-Fives (AKA Developmental Kindergarten) art all together and add a sign that emphasizes "It's the PROCESS, not the PRODUCT!"

2nd Grade "Picasso Monsters", modified from a lesson in Arts & Activities Magazine, in which only witches were made. Many of the kids loved making vampires this year. I wonder why?

Kandinsky Crayon Walk by Kinders. They took their crayons on a walk around their papers, added pattern, and watercolored them.

These Wild Things made by 1st graders also included a story they wrote by chosing adjectives from a list and filling in the blanks. This idea comes from Dryden Elementary School, another of my favorite Artsonia sites.

And another Dryden steal: Secondary Pumpkin Patches by Kinders.

Some Jim Dine Inspired Hearts, which I have blogged about previously.

5th Grade Rainbow Still Life. Color palette was limited to 6 colors, plus black and white. I'll be blogging about this project soon!

3rd Grades made these Frank Lloyd Wright inspired stained glass windows using overhead film and Gallery Glass.

Golden Gourds, also created by 3rd Grade- lesson found on the Deep Space Sparkle blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Non-Objective Art

This lesson is adapted from a lesson found on the Incredible Art Department website and the entire lesson may be found there. I will post my adapted version in this blog entry.

I have done this lesson with second graders, but it is adaptable to all ages and skill levels.

Materials Needed:

* white paper- 12" X 16" (I cut the paper to this size so that it can be mounted on to colored paper with a 1" border)

* tempera in various colors, including black
* paint brushes
* scraps of decorative paper (patterned, metallic, etc.)
* spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor
* paper cutter
* glue

Explain to students what Non-Objective Art is: "Artworks having no recognizable subject matter (not recognizable as such things as houses, trees, people, etc.) Also known as non-representational art" (from ArtLex). Show examples, if possible.

The Decorative Process:


Students paint various lines, shapes, and patterns on their white paper using various colors of tempera (no black at this point). Stress that no recognizable items should be painted.

Students glue various scraps of decorative paper at random spots on their painting.

Students use black tempera (or ink) to outline various shapes and add more lines to their painting.


Using spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor, students mist their paintings to add even more color and texture.

The Collage process:

I use the paper cutter to cut their paintings in to 2" squares and place their pieces in individual envelopes. Students could also measure and cut their own paintings using scissors.


Students randomly glue their pieces on to another piece of white 10" X 16" paper, making sure they fit them back together without gaps or overlaps.

I mounted these on to colored construction paper and they looked fabulous!

Photos of the process:

You can see all of my students' artwork on our Artsonia gallery.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mr & Mrs. Gadget

This project was done with first graders and the most important rule was NO SCISSORS ALLOWED! The students chose a 9" X 12" piece of construction paper and folded it in half. The face shape was ripped from this fold piece of paper and glued on to a contrasting piece of construction paper. The same process was repeated for the nose and mouth. Eyes and ears were ripped from two pieces of paper stacked up and hair was torn and stacked on top of the head. I made it a point to tell the students that they could NOT repeat the colors of paper used in this project, so they turned out very colorful.

During the following class period, students used various "gadgets" dipped in black tempera to add details, such as eyes, nostrils, earrings, bow ties, etc. Some ideas for gadgets: inner plastic rolls from receipt rolls, pieces of wood in various shapes, legos, bottle caps, and wooden thread spools. Actually, anything can be made in to a gadget!

Mounted on colorful paper, these Gadget Heads make a great display. One year, a parent wrote the kids names in a whimsical way and it added so much to the final result.

I remember seeing this project in a magazine years ago, but I cannot remember where. I have adapted it over the years.

See our entire gallery of Gadget Heads on Artsonia.

On display at our annual Arts Festival:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Laurel Burch Fantastic Felines

This painting project is based on artist Laurel Burch, whose artwork is filled with bright colors and wild patterns.

Students drew their cats on 18" X 24" colored construction paper and painted them using tempera. When dry, they were outlined using a silver Sharpie marker, cut out, and glued on to a background made of wrapping paper (which was glued to a poster board). This would be a great way to use up rolls of wallpaper, as well. We had several positive comments on this project and it was quick and easy.

See the entire menagerie of Fantastic Felines in our Artsonia gallery.
Cats on display at our annual Arts Festival: