Monday, April 24, 2017

The Ratner School Art Program

What a fun and successful Gala event we had this weekend! I enjoyed seeing everyone at the event and I want to thank you for your kind words about the art program and know that I appreciate you all trusting me and supporting me in the art education of your children. I am so pleased that all the student art work brought strong bids and the students were very proud to hear how much their artwork raised at the auction. I made several announcements at the Monday morning meeting with the 1st-8th grade and they were all so pleased to hear that their artwork was among the most coveted items at the auction. The 3rd and 4th grade class were extremely proud to hear that their bench will be at the new Children's Museum of Cleveland! My most sincere thanks to you all!

Mark Rothko sketch

Kindergarten Art

The bowls and cups were fired this past weekend and they were all successful! I did not have any piece that broke during the firing and I am excited to show the students their work this week. It is always amazing to them to see the bright colors from the glaze. All the work will be coming home next week, as I want the students to see their work before I wrap it up to send home. All the ceramic work is food safe and while they say it can be put in the dishwasher, I would suggest hand washing the work. All the students are eager to eat cereal out of their bowls, I hope they will all hold be leak-proof! 
We began a printmaking unit last week in Kindergarten art and the students really enjoyed the process. They were careful following the many steps of the instructions and each student was able to pull a clean and successful print. They have all developed so wonderfully this year and I am impressed with the level of work they are creating. I may be able to hang up the prints for a short time so everyone can enjoy the work. Please know that there will be a lot of work coming home with the students before the end of the school year.

Using the brayer to apply ink to the printing plates

1st and 2nd Grade Art

We had a week of printmaking in class. The students wanted to create fantastic creatures with their work, so we talked about what textures, patterns and forms they could use to develop their ideas. There are several times that students want to draw characters or iconic figures from television or video games and I always encourage them to design their own characters. I explain to them that while they may be inspired by someone else's work, it is always better to invent a new character that reflects their ideas and personality. That usually helps keep the cartoon characters out of their art work! The students loved the printmaking process and equally enjoyed creating an environment for their creature to live or be displayed in. 

3rd and 4th Grade Art

While waiting for the ceramic work to fire in the kiln, we did a fast printmaking project. The students looked at the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and we talked about the impact of her work on the mainly male driven art world. We discussed how her environment directed her work and paid close attention to her flower series. Each student created a flower image on their printing plates and we will begin printing soon. One class last week was a combined Science and Art class focusing on the equinox and the Mayan culture. The class created sun masks and then we went outside to have the masks absorb the energy from the sun. They ended the class by creating a human snake dance to lead the class back inside. It is always a fun class to combine Science and Art and we had an enjoyable learning experience.

5th and 6th Grade Art

While we were waiting for the bobble heads and stands to get fired in the kiln, I decided to do a quick unit on printmaking. I love printmaking and although it makes a tremendous mess and creates extra clean up, I always look forward to the students results. We approached the designs with a graphic art intent, using free form patterns and trying to add as much information as possible into the original printing plate. The students practiced pulling straight black ink prints first and then began experimenting with different colored inks and papers. Some of my favorite prints were printed on maps and watercolor background. I was very pleased with the results and the students were tremendously engaged in the process. 


7th and 8th Grade Art

We had an interesting week in art. We were in between phases of the ceramic projects waiting for the bisque work to come out of the kiln, so I thought we would get a start on the history projects. Each student has a different approach to their personal projects, so it gets a little hectic in the art department. Some students want to build ambitious projects in the Maker Space, others have ideas for paintings or posters. The students are learning to organize their making process, gather materials and continue to build on the problem solving skills we develop year long in art. We will be glazing the 7th grade totem pole elements this week (finally) and will finish the year with the history projects.