Images of Arlington 5th grade artists honored at the State House

Kids Images of Arlington at the State House (20)This summer, anyone visiting Senator Ken Donnelly’s office at the Massachusetts State House will be treated to an exhibit of 30+ works of art by Arlington 5th graders, part of the Arlington Center for the Arts’ annual “Kids Images of Arlington” exhibit, now in its 8th year.

Each year, all 400+ 5th graders in the Arlington public schools create artwork depicting something unique about the town.  The artwork is displayed in a massive exhibit that fills all three floors of the Arlington Center for the Arts building.

A small subset of the students’ artwork is selected to go on display at the State House in Senator Donnelly’s offices.

Last week, the Senator hosted the students in a special reception in their honor, and took the kids on a private tour of the State House.

Several of the 5th grade "Images of Arlington" artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Several of the 5th grade “Images of Arlington” artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Donnelly loves the tradition – whenever he has visitors to his offices – other Senators and Representatives, or constituents from his district, he says he loves showing off the artwork, which depicts so many landmarks and special places in Arlington.

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate...!)

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate…!)

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon.  We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon. We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!

 

See more of the “Kids Images of Arlington” artwork in our online slideshow…

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Video Blog: Favorite Moments & Memories of 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, we revisit some of our favorite moments and memories of 2012…

Enjoy!!

Video Blog: Recycled & Altered Books

You’ll never believe what you can do with old books!
Diem Dangers will lead you on an amazing journey, transforming old books into stunningly beautiful and meaningful visual journals…

Next offered:
“Recycled Books” with Diem Dangers
Fall, 2012:  4 Tuesdays, 3:00-4:30pm, ages 11-16
You can register online
or call the Arlington Center for the Arts (781) 648-6220

“Wizzards of Their Own Futures” – ACA’s littlest campers get magical at arts camp for pre-schoolers

Cute Alert…!  Art teacher and guest blogger Diem Dangers gives us a peek into the “Young at Art” room during Magic Week at ACA Summer Arts Camp.  Our littlest campers (ages 4-5) had a blast making magic hats, crystal balls, and thinking all about magic!

Diem Dangers (standing) leads the Young at Art pre-K camper in a magical week of art-making and creative fun!

Crystal Ball Project
The purpose of the crystal ball project was to allow the students to think about how to express the future visually. Over

Story Time during Young at Art – firing up the campers’ imaginations with tales of wizards and magic!

the course of the week, we read about magic and wizardry in a variety of storybooks such as: Anton Does Magic, The Magic Raincoat, The Magic Toolbox, Word Wizard, The Magic Babushka, The Dream Jar, Possum Magic, and The Wizard. We also sang “Down By the Castle” (an adaptation of “Down By the Sea” with lyrics that related to the magic theme of this week’s class) with Alex Fenn, our music teacher. We used these stories and songs to inspire conversations about what magic means, what crystal balls are and how they can reveal the future. The students were then asked to create their own crystal ball that would show what would happen in their future.

A magic crystal ball in the making…

It was a fun open-ended exploratory project, giving the little artists plenty of fun textures to play around with and discover including: glitter, felt, construction paper, pipe cleaners, paint, fuzzy woolen balls, crayons, paint, and cut-out photos from magazines for collage. As the week progressed, we also explored adding little pop-out windows to add extra depth and new dimensions to the piece. The students used these little pop-out windows to create entryways to secret passages to the future, and to cover up secret hidden treasures.

I loved how each student produced something totally unique, each interpreting the assignment in their own special way.

Young at Art campers in action, working on their Crystal Ball projects.

Some did landscapes of the future, others did visual stories of their daily lives in the future and their expected careers, others captured futuristic people they would meet. Some did a complex collage of various people, places and objects capturing various different people, times and spaces into one whole. Some kept within the confines of the “crystal ball”, others chose to “think outside the box” allowing their imaginations to wonder all over the page. I was surprised and impressed by such creative, unusual and unexpected arrangements of colors, objects and textures! They certainly have my enthusiastic support for this kind of exploration! After all, the value of creating art comes from what they learn through the exploratory process as much as it does making an end product.

During music time with music teacher Alex Fenn, the kids sang songs about magic, and made some special musical magic of their own, playing with percussion instruments

As an art teacher, I see myself as someone who creates conditions that inspires students to come up with their own ideas for making art that has meaning for them.  I like art projects that stimulate student’s imaginations, encouraging them to think independently for themselves about what they are creating and expressing. For me, children’s art is as valuable in and of itself, and is not to be compared to adult art or considered of lesser developmental quality.

Show-and-Tell

One young camper with his finished Crystal Ball project

At the end of the week, students had the opportunity to share their crystal balls with the rest of the class. I see my students as fellow artists, and take them seriously when they describe their pieces and what they are expressing. I was so impressed by the students’ willingness to explain what their art meant to them, ask questions of others, and engage in conversation with each other. In the process of participating in this activity, they had the opportunity to define what their art meant to them. They were understanding of how different colors, textures and shapes can be used to visually represent the future.

Here is a short video of Emil describing his crystal ball and answering classmates’ questions about it.

Wizard Hats.

Towards the end of the week, we made wizard hats covered in traditional stars and moons and other creative designs. The wizard hats gave the whole Show-and-Tell activity a theatrical feel and added to the magic of the crystal balls. The little artists presented their piece not just as themselves, but as themselves as wizards of their own futures!

Show and Tell time, when each camper presented their crystal ball project, with everyone wearing their magic hats!

 

More Photos!
See more photos from our week, in our online slideshow.

More info:
for more information about ACA’s Young at Art program, visit our website.

Learning Graffiti — Without Destroying Property

Officer Smith of the Arlington Police showing students works of graffiti around Arlington.

Officer Smith of the Arlington Police made a visit to the Urban Arts & Graffiti class here at ACA – catching them in the act of graffiti making. As students were practicing their graffiti work in the ACA bathroom, Officer Smith stepped in just in time to give the kids a slight shock, where he told them how what they were partaking in was illegal. The twist in this story? The students were given permission by their teacher, Chris LeGare, to put their artwork on the bathroom walls.

Sample artwork made in ACA’s Urban Arts and Graffiti class

The class has been intently mastering the art of graffiti – rather than the quintessential “tagging” that is seen around, Chris has been teaching students about more artistic graffiti and how they can incorporate the style into their everyday artwork (without defacing property to do so).

After giving the kids a scare, Officer Smith escorted the class back into the room, where he explained the detrimental effects graffiti can have on a community. Students listened intently to Officer Smith as her discussed the way businesses are fined fifty dollars for each day that the graffiti is not removed from their building. He even went on to explain an extreme case, of a business that has yet to remove graffiti for 365 days. The students were shocked to hear that it is the victim that has to pay the price of the graffiti.

Officer Smith explained the likelihood of getting caught in the act of graffiti and the repercussions of their actions; many of the students already knew of their peers that had suffered these repercussions themselves.

Officer Smith viewing samples of stencil work made in class

The students were so invested in the conversation with Officer Smith that it took the entire class period, where it ended with Officer Smith showing them his binders of local graffiti in Arlington.

Glass Fusing Workshop – Gorgeous Work by ACA students!

Check out the beautiful projects from ACA’s Glass Fusing Workshop with Michel L’Hullier.

In just one afternoon, you can learn the basics of glass fusing techniques and play with colored glass pieces, powders and frits to create beautiful plates, bowls and glass objects.

After a series of fun exercises, you’ll design and create your own projects.

Your pieces will be fused flat first, and then “slumped” in a second firing to give them their final shape.  The finished pieces will be available at ACA within a week after the workshop.  You won’t believe what you can make!

 

Check out these photos of student work from Michel’s ACA Workshops: