The Art classroom, known as the Imaginarium, is filled with plants and natural light. Similar to other Montessori classrooms, the child-centric space exudes a sense of calm and order but on a larger scale. It is a wonderful space for students to tap into their creativity.
To start off the new year, the students are creating self portraits. Self-portraits are painted at the beginning and the end of every year in art, in order to serve as progress benchmarks. When the students compare their earlier portraits to the those they executed at the end of the year, they can clearly see their own growth and development as artists.
This year’s theme in the Art Program is ‘Art in America’. This culturally rich theme will give students the opportunity to explore themes, traditions, practices, and the historical perspective that make the arts in America so exciting. The children will get to know the works of well-known American artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Calder, and Andy Warhol, as well as the creations of artists they may have not encountered before, such as Alma Woodsey Thomas, Dale Chihuly, and Wayne Theibald.
The idea for this year’s theme was inspired by an exhibition coming to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, entitled “Thirty Americans.” This exhibit will feature the works of thirty influential contemporary African-American artists, most of whom are currently practicing artists. The middle school students will take a field trip to the Barnes to view the exhibition; they will integrate their impressions into an International Baccalaureate unit that emphasizes the global context of Personal and Cultural Expression as they explore how the artists communicate their life experiences through their art. Students in all grades, from Primary through Upper Elementary, will have the opportunity to learn about the works of some of the artists in the exhibition. These experiences will not only enrich the students’ understanding and appreciation for American art but also move us forward in our goals of greater diversity and inclusion in our curricula. As always, all students will be guided in hands-on, rich, and meaningful art experiences designed to spark the imagination and nurture confidence in artistic expression. Watch for their work on the walls of school!