The event space at the Mountain Road Library is full of color this month. Art teachers at four local elementary schools – Bodkin, Lake Shore, Pasadena and Jacobsville – chose student work, divided up wall space and are displaying a variety of artwork.
Heather Roddy, an art teacher at Jacobsville Elementary, chose work from all grade levels, but she tried to highlight students who hadn’t been spotlighted before. She also chose work from students who demonstrate the school’s ROAR values: responsible, organized, achieving and respectful.
“It gives them a feeling of accomplishment to have their work on display in a public place,” said Roddy, who coordinated Art in our Schools. “It gives them that feeling of really being a true artist and having their work out where many people can see it.”
Karen O’Boyle, an art teacher at Pasadena Elementary, chooses pieces that reflect the concepts and skills students learned in her class.
“It's important to show student work in the community because they need to see their artwork displayed at different venues instead of just being hung up at school,” O’Boyle said. “It shows the community what our students are learning about and creating in art classes across the county.”
At Lake Shore Elementary, art teacher Gigi King-Haan searches through piles from her 15 art classes to see what catches her eye. King-Haan said the art show allows the community to see students’ art the way they see it.
“It is important to display artwork out in the community to help the students feel like part of the community,” King-Haan said. “It also brings the community together, and they see students from all the different schools displayed together, which shows that we as teachers, even though our work is different, come together as one community.”
Bodkin art teacher Jaclyn Cockcroft sets aside pieces throughout the year to have them on hand when it’s time to select artwork for a showcase. Cockcroft said she likes to make a big deal about student work being collected so they feel special and understand how important it is.
“Having art displayed in the community helps others get an inside view into our classrooms,” Cockcroft said. “Having the chance to have one’s art on display at a public event is like the soccer player going to a playoff game. It’s an opportunity to show off the many great artists we have at the elementary level and share it with their families.”
Roughly 15 to 25 pieces are on display from each school. A large variety of media are on display, including collages, paintings, pastel work, marker and colored pencil.
“They see that their work is not necessarily just for doing a project that we’re doing at school, but it is used for sometimes a bigger purpose,” Roddy said. “It gives them a sense of what comes after your work is finished.”
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