The Art Literacy Years: 2004-2014


Mark and Julia with first-grade teacher Mrs. Butcher

This has been a year of many personal milestones—my husband and I both turned 40 during the last several months, and we just celebrated our 20th anniversary last week, so we have been feeling grateful and contemplative in the midst of all the busyness that comes with raising children.  Our son Mark entered high school and turned 15 this year—he is now learning to drive, which is a little harrowing—and our 11-year-old daughter Julia completed fifth grade and will be starting middle school in the fall.  It is very hard to believe that our years of having elementary school-aged children have officially drawn to a close.


One year’s class auction project

I just spent some time looking through our photo library and reminiscing, and I came across many photos of art projects and shows from the kids’ elementary school days, since I was fortunate enough to be in a position to volunteer with their school’s art literacy program for the past ten years.  I really enjoyed teaching the kids about different artists by sharing slides, helping with hands-on projects, creating collaborative class art projects for school auctions, and hanging hallways full of art for end-of-the-year art shows.  Below are a few of the photos I came across…

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During my first year as an art literacy volunteer, I helped Mark’s kindergarten class create this collaborative butterfly painting for the school auction.


Butterfly project for Mark’s class

Here’s a photo from the art show at the end of that year—my friend Shari and I had a very long hallway of bulletin boards to cover with pieces of student art inspired by Wassily Kandinsky; this is only a tiny fraction.


The Kandinsky Wall–what is Julia up to?

Here is a photo from a school art show a couple of years later—I really enjoyed teaching the kids about Helen Frankenthaler, and luckily I had a smaller hallway to fill, too!


Helen Frankenthaler projects

The following year I helped with auction projects for both of the kids’ classes. For Julia’s class, sweet matching aprons…


Matching aprons

…and for Mark’s 4th grade class, a collaborative painting inspired by an Oregon quilt with a rose motif; the class was studying the Oregon Trail that year.  I unified the quilt squares, which were printed on silk and then colored by the students, with a stenciled border and painted ribbon.  I thought this was a particularly successful piece; the parent who bought it at the school auction was really happy to get it!

Oregon Quilt School Art Project

Inspired by an Oregon quilt motif

There were many more projects, but these are definitely some of my favorites. Looking back at the fruits of the hundreds of hours I spent volunteering with the art literacy program during my kids’ elementary school years is truly a source of pride and happiness.


Me and my graduating girl!


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