Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Free Art Summer

        
It has been the fastest summer ever, hasn't it? One fun thing I did was make tiny art to give away on Free Art Fridays. After participating in a few community and school art hunts over the last couple of years with my students, I started thinking about the kind of art I wanted to give away. Many artists who participate in the FAF movement have nicknames and recognizable logos or street art inspired characters. I decided that my favorite part was the surprise of finding treasure and I added the exciting element of opening a gift, so I decided to go with the project name "Check the Box." This way I can experiment with different kinds of art inside the box, and even collaborations with other artists, while keeping it uniform with the recycled, stenciled boxes - mostly matchboxes, gum/candy boxes and CD cases. 




Here are a few pieces I dropped at the Free Art Decatur art hunt in June, and a few finds, too. I also ran into a teacher from Chattanooga that I have been collaborating with - it was great to meet her in person! She had drops of her own and from her students to share from Tennessee.


Artists and hunters use social networking like Twitter and Instagram to leave clues about the drop spots and also to thank the artists when the piece is found.


The next pieces you see will be dropped in New York City by a lifelong friend of mine who visits NYC regularly because she's the smartest person I know with a super cool job there. I've never been there, but I've always had a feeling it would be my favorite place! I have also sent a few pieces to teacher friends in a few other places around the US, and even in my neighborhood's own Little Free Library :)





I am really happy to have learned about the Free Art Movement and I am loving being a part of it. My students have gotten a real kick out of it too. It really gets to the heart of what it's all about for me.



















Sunday, May 25, 2014

Thanks Mister Rogers and happy summer, neighbors!

"I'll be back when the day is new, and I'll have more ideas for you.
You'll have things you'll want to talk about, I will too."

There is always so much going on at the end of the year that I get overwhelmed and feel a little burnout. Remembering this song that closed out every episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood always makes me feel better! How many of you were affected by this show as a kid? It was a real centering point for me as a child, making me feel calm, accepted, interested, and generally okay all around! I am only realizing in the last ten years what an impact he still has on my life, especially as a teacher. I've even been wearing more and more cardigans and sneakers lately. Although I am tired and drained now, I will be back, full of ideas and ready to share!

We've had an amazingly productive year, and we continued working up until the last day. We sent home over 900 portfolios, full of art learning, practicing, and products - I so hope they are the subject of many family sit-downs and fridge hang-ups! Here are some shots from our final days of 2014:

5th grade weavings

First grade unit on African art wraps up with Anansi the spider collages and Ndebele house designs (below)


Third graders learn about art of Ancient Egypt

Awesome handmade gift by the talented Miss Leah, complete with upcycled gift box - love it!

Lots of writing and reflecting on goals and growth this year - wish I had remembered to get more pics of this kind of stuff - not used to taking pics of writing ;)

Fun face photography on a pretty spring day


Kindergarteners finish up their prehistoric unit with some cave drawing


Fourth graders try their hands at modeling some succulent plants based on beautiful samples sent to me from Calfornia art teacher Rita Vinetz. It was literally the last days of art so most did the coloring part at home. Luckily Model Magic is easy to color:)


Happy summer to everybody - take time to unwind, unplug, relax and refresh! So much more to share next fall... Goodbye neighbors!











Tuesday, May 20, 2014

International Day

Today was our first International Day, and it was full of excitement and colorful exhibits sponsored by the ESOL teachers and our international families. We even had workshops in the art room on calligraphy by a master artist from Korea - Mrs. Suh helped about 100 students write their names in Korean using the brush painting and ink grinding technique. Music, taekwando, and reading workshops went on in other parts of the building, as well as a large rotation of country displays complete with passport stamping! Such a fun day.



















Monday, May 19, 2014

Face mugs, 2014


That's right, it's time for 5th grade face mugs - a tradition that goes back to the dark ages in my classroom...
For all the details about this fantastic project, including how-to's, artist inspiration and a history video, please search "face jugs" on my sidebar. We opted for mugs rather than jugs this year, to accommodate what I had hoped would be little mounds of fluffy green plant life that I've been nurturing from seeds for a couple of months now. They were oh-so-promising early on, then they kind of stopped growing and withered away. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. The pots are still terrific!















Friday, May 16, 2014

Free Art Friday '14

Over the last two years, one of my growing interests has been the Free Art Movement, which celebrates the notion that "Art is for Everyone." It's easy to get hooked when you live in a place with an active and generous art community like Atlanta. Free Art Friday is a worldwide art hunt in which artists leave small pieces of art in public places for passerby to find, creating an unexpected artful moment in the day. You can look for clues and post your findings on social networks like Twitter and Instagram. You may have previously read some of my previous posts about this topic or you can click the label in the right sidebar about last year's FAF celebration.
The art teachers in my county have been teaming up with a number of local artists for several years now to put together a professional development "production party" - they teach us how they make their "drops" and we work as a group to make bunches to share at our school - think Warhol's Factory - it's that cool (I imagine at least ;) ) My husband, son and daughter came to help too and here you'll see me with artists Evereman and SadStove.

                                  

I also contacted several other local artists for donations and they mailed me some nice pieces to add to the stash, including CrazyMonkeyTrucker, Ms_ATL, and @flounder.

Free Art Friday can happen on any given Friday, and ours in the county happened last week, May 9.
At our art show the week before, we set up materials for the kids to begin their FAF projects for the next week. Last year's clay charms, made from semi-dry clay scraps, were a huge hit with the families, and this year we tried something a little deeper in the "upcycling" trend.
At the beginning of every school year, my Dick Blick order comes in and I unpack a million little boxes of various supplies. I'm really not much of a hoarder at all by art teacher standards :), but I just hate throwing out all those clean, new boxes. I have been saving for two years and I have plenty for the base of this years project: box monsters! We also used foam scraps, too-short pencils, old plastic caps, and of course, googly eyes. We also affixed a label with the tags #freeart4U and my classroom twitter name @MKSAfaf. One little friend Jaxon tweeted a picture of his box monster hiding in a mailbox - it was awesome!

 
 

The day of the event was super exciting - the kids got off the buses and immediately began scanning the halls. Kids who made their own pieces to drop were stealthily stashing their art all around the building. It was such a fun day! Can't wait to do it again next year! 

Here is the free art I make called "Check the Box" - Aiyanna was excited to find it and the tiny art inside:

and @atl_ET kept an eye out for fires - before he was found!
Here are some pieces from @BargerArtRoom, an art teacher I connected with following FAF on Twitter.
and a few from fellow blogger extraordinaire, Don Masse of shine brite zamorano. Really enjoyed the collaboration with these two awesome teachers.
I caught these kids in the act of hiding their personal FAF's - shhhh, I didn't tell!

Four lucky finders went home with a @RockIt_ATL, an Evereman, an IkeMadness, and a SadStove.



Even the teachers got in on the hunt...

Here's an Evereman I mailed to Barger in Chattanooga

and a SadStove that flew all the way to San Diego.

Do you have a Free Art community in your neck of the woods? I'd love to hear all about it!