By Tasha Schiedel
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN The Prairie Arts Council (PAC) of Lester Prairie recently wrapped up another year of Art Adventures with the Minnesota Institute of Art and the Lester Prairie Elementary students.
“Art Adventures allows us to give the elementary students some supplemental experiences with art that would not otherwise be possible during their limited time with the school art teacher. This makes the program an important part of each year’s art council activities” remarked Jane Holasek, Prairie Arts Council member.
Every year, PAC members and several volunteers in the community visit the Minnesota Institute of Art (MIA) for two to three hours of training. The group is shown exhibits that coincide with a theme MIA puts together each year. This year’s theme was “People and Their Environment.”
After training, Holasek returns to the museum to pick up large photos of the exhibits and examples of materials used in some of the works of art.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade participated in three sessions through the month of November.
During the first session, the students saw a picture of a Lakota beaded suitcase from the early 1900s, and a 20th century Tyiwara head crest from Mali, Africa. Students were told the history and significance the items have for the two different cultures.
The students were then able to make their own piece of artwork that represents a part of who they are. Using a variety of beans, seeds, and dried corn, they produced a picture on a paper plate that was significant to them.
During the second class, students saw a photo of an oil painting called “Tahitian Landscape” by Paul Gaugin, and a photograph showing a replica of a Chinese rock garden. Student were taught how emotions play a key part in many artists’ work.
The activity to accompany this set involved using watercolor paper and watercolors to depict a sunrise or sunset, and the feelings students have when they see the event.
They used the watercolors to form layers of colors and formed new colors when the watercolors spread.
In the last class, the students looked at an enlarged copy of a 1934 photograph by Berenice Abbott called “New York At Night,” and a photo of an oil painting called “The Grand Canal in Venice” by Canaletto from the early 1700s.
During this session the students looked at the varying styles of architecture.
The last activity included the watercolor painting completed during the second session. They used the painting to make a cityscape using foam sheets and printing ink. The students were able to imprint a city scene on the foam sheets, and, using rollers, made two impressions, the second one being a reflection of the first.
In addition to the Art Adventures program, PAC will be taking the fifth grade students on a field trip to the Minnesota Institute of Arts in the Spring.