Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
Many years ago, I taught art at an elementary school which served 800 students in grades K-5. The students were talented and enthusiastic about art. One of the extra-curricular art programs that I set up was called the Graphic Arts workshop. During one prep hour each week, I allowed 3-5 students to come and work in the art studio on graphic arts projects. I allowed teachers to select talented art students in grades 3-5 to work on posters, fliers, banners, and programs for school related activities. Some students created items on the computer while others created banners. In the picture below, a student is working on a D.A.R.E. display for an awards program. For the last several posts we have shared ideas about how to create great extra-curricular art programs. A Graphic Arts workshop is a great idea that can be used on any grade level.
One of the best ways to create an amazing art program at your school is to facilitate and offer an extra-curricular art program. Throughout my years in the classroom, I created a variety of extra-curricular programs for students who expressed a strong interest in visual art. The next several posts will briefly highlight some of these programs and hopefully inspire you to create one for the students at your school.
Earlier in my teaching career, I was fortunate to teach at a high school that had an arts academy. I loved working with the students and staff at that school. While the school did not offer a fashion class in the curriculum, one of the senior students asked me to work with her in developing a fashion illustration portfolio for college. Having studied fashion illustration and some basic sewing experience, I enjoyed working with her; this also inspired me to create and offer an after school fashion club.
I began by placing fliers aroung the school to see if any other students might be interested in joining the fashion club. While the first meeting had a large turnout, only 10 students were able to consisitently commit to the club. This was perfect because, it allowed me to be able to work with each student individually.
The club was offered once a week for an hour after school.The students were required to maintain at least an overall g.p.a. of 2.5 in their classes, maintain good behavior, and attend a majority of the meetings. We had so much fun learning about basic fashion terms, major designers, and styles.
The students learned how to create original fashion illustrations and picked names for their design concepts.
It was so exciting watching the students bring their designs to life by creating the actual garments they illustrated. After taking them to a local fabric store and teaching them about choosing the right fabrics for their ideas, each student created three outfits. They also learned how to read and alter a basic sewing pattern.
The program culminated with a student produced fashion show in the spring. The students advertised, decorated the space and invited family, staff members and friends to attend the show. We were fortunate to have an actual gallery space in that school and used it to display the student's fashion illustrations. The students also supplied hors d'oeurves for the guests. The visual art department received accolades from the staff, administration and community. The most rewarding part for me though, was seeing, the pride and joy on the students faces.
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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