Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Elevating the Arts

First let me say that I am not a lover of contests when it comes to art. I do not care for poster contests and trash art contests whose themes are often shallow and superficial. But this last spring break I read about a contest that truly inspired me. It was sponsored by Americans for the Arts and American Girl Doll and the directive was to create a collaborative work of art with students that shows how art is at the center of learning, or how art is valued in your school. Five volunteer fourth grade students served as our creative core and we started creating our mural installation.

 “Our mural is about how art is all around us.” Mallory explains to a teacher as we install our work in the library. “See how the seeds spread and turns into ideas? Art is like that. It is everywhere.”

Each of the balloons show an area of life that is effected by art. Our food, technology, design of clothing and maps, music marketing, religious imagery, and so much more.

The five 4th grade students who served as the creative core of our mural team agreed that they should include a quote to better explain the impact art has on our school and our world.

“Everything you can imagine is real! The idea (of Picasso's quote) matched our picture so well.” Olivia commented during the discussion about which quote to use.  “Art gives us so much freedom to think and dream of things no one has ever seen before. Plus, it is really fun!” 

Teachers often comment about how excited learners are when they have the opportunity to be creative and expressive in the classroom. With so many high-stakes tests, most schools are pulling out of the arts, but our school is committed to making sure our students are the best, the brightest and the most creative by supporting the arts program.

The national winner of the contest will receive $10,000 for his/her school, so it was a gamble I was willing to take with my time. But, like they say, "Many will enter. Few will win." We will have to wait until October to find out the results but we already feel like winners. The principal showed the installation on the morning video announcements and recognized our creative team for their efforts.

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