Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Brackett School Annual Concert and Art Show 2010

This year's art exhibit, For the Beauty of the Earthwas a big success thanks to the hard work of students and the support of Brackett staff and families. As always, many thanks for your ongoing support and appreciation!

Students began this lesson by discussing how art can be made from many different kinds of materials, beyond the obvious mediums of paint or clay. Some artists create art from objects they find around them, such as those found in nature. 
Students were shown many examples of the photographs taken by sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy (1956- ) of his sculptural creations in nature. Students were led in a discussion of Goldsworthy’s creative and technical process while examining how materials were used and organized. Goldsworthy has traveled the world creating sculptures and sculptural installations using only the natural materials he finds in his surroundings. Most of his creations are temporary and allowed to return to the earth from which they came, some lasting only a few minutes. As a result, Goldsworthy immediately photographs all his work as a way of recording the creation for future reference. 
Students were then instructed to create their own temporary, small-scale creation from natural materials. They were allowed to choose from a wide range to materials such as seashells and pebbles, and encouraged to think about how they would organize these materials while thinking about design elements such as color and pattern. A photograph was then taken of their creation before returning the materials to their source. 

Grade One
Students began this lesson by discussing how artists can craft objects for useful purposes and use their artistic skills to make mundane, practical objects more beautiful. To illustrate this, students were shown two examples of Chinese pottery: a vase and a dinner plate. Students discussed why the artists decorated the ceramic wares they created, and were led to notice that the artists derived their decorative themes from nature.
Students were then told that they would be creating their own ceramic plates from earthen clay, a natural material that comes from the earth. Students were told that not only would they be using a natural earthen substance such as clay, but they would also use real leaves to print an impression by pressing the leaf into the wet clay once the plate was constructed. Once the plates were built, they were fired in a very hot oven called a kiln and later glazed with color to complete the design.

Grade Two
Students began this lesson by looking at two examples of found object sculptures and discussed how sculptures can be made from many different materials. Some artists choose to use objects they find, often from discarded “junk”, known as found objects. They then use their imaginations to give the objects new life as a sculpture. Students were led to notice what the objects in the artworks were, and how they had been utilized in a new way for the purpose of the artist’s idea.
Students were then shown some examples of found object installation sculpture by Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). Students discussed how Nevelson assembled her found pieces into small abstract arrangements based on shape and form. Later, she would join all the smaller pieces together into a large-scale installation. Students were then led to notice that by painting all the objects the same color, Nevelson gave the sculpture unity.
Students were then each given a shoebox with which to fill with various recycled objects of their own choosing. They were asked to think about visual rhythm, pattern, shape and form, while thoughtfully arranging their recyclable items. Once the items were glued into the shoebox, the box sculptures were painted with several layers of white paint and joined together as a unified whole as a large installation sculpture.

Grade Three
Third graders were introduced to the printmaking method of monoprinting, a method of printing very different from other printmaking forms in that there is no permanent plate created from which to create more replicas.
In order to help students better understand the complicated process of monoprinting, they were shown a demonstration of inking the printing plate and using stencils to block out desired shapes and areas for printing, as well as drawing into the ink surface. Students were then allowed studio time to experiment and familiarize themselves with the many possibilities for creating monoprints.
Students were then guided through a discussion and shown several examples of monoprints by contemporary printmakers. Having now some idea how a monoprint is created, students were now able to guess the steps each artist employed in each of the examples in order to create their final results. Given that water is such an important and necessary natural resource, students were shown various examples of artworks, including different styles of printmaking, with water as the primary subject matter as an element that has inspired many artists. Students were then instructed to create their own monoprints about the element of water, using various techniques they had experimented with to create different effects and results.

Grade Four
Students were introduced to the work of graphic designers, discussing how art can be used to advertise and decorate packages, posters and signs. Students were shown various examples of graphic design, paying close attention and comparing examples of design to see font style differences, color usage, lines and shapes to convey symbolic ideas and the use of logos and images. Students were quick to see these subtle elements and shared their ideas for why such choices were made and used by the designers on several different products. Students were then shown several different examples of environmental public awareness posters by various graphic designers. They were led to notice how the designers had planned the images to be large and the messages to be simple, in order to attract the attention of the viewer. Students were told that they would be designing a public awareness poster for endangered wildlife. Fourth graders discussed what the term “endangered” means and how it differs from the term “extinct”, what circumstances can threaten a specie’s survival, how wildlife is studied and observed for signs of population decline and what can be done to help a threatened population recover. After researching photo references of their chosen species, students planned preliminary sketches before constructing their poster collages.

Grade Five
Students began this lesson by discussing and examining several examples of eco-friendly house designs by different contemporary architects. Students were led to notice how these designs were different from architectural house designs of the past, and why the architects planned various design and construction elements for specific environmental purposes, such as the use of many windows to maximize daylight.
Students were then asked to imagine that they were future architects designing a dream house to their own desires and specifications. However, in addition to planning the features they would like to have in their future house, they were also required to design their house with eco-friendly, environmentally sensitive features. Students were encouraged to think about alternative energy and conservation, building materials, indoor/outdoor living spaces, and special use of science and technology. The designs could be based on current environmental practices or more imaginative ideas of their own. Students could also include interior and/or exterior views of the house, while also incorporating different building materials, textures and patterns. Students were then instructed to include a diagram or key indicating the special features of their eco-friendly dream house.