How do we "See" visual arts?

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Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal worked with children in Jay’s and Laura’s pre-k classes at Marindale this Spring. Following are her perspectives on the many ways the students experienced the visual arts:

Clara: "Can I make a rubber stamp "squeak" and also bang it like a drum?"

Clara loved to do all kinds of art: drawing painting, stamping, gluing, and squeezing clay. But her greatest joy was discovering the many different ways her materials could make noise! Each time I visited I would bring foil, or bubble wrap, or “crunchy” paper so that Clara could experience paint and color and sound in her art-making process.

Christopher contributing to the Class Project

Christopher was tentative with new experiences, but with a gentle touch and lots of encouragement, he was able to hold a paintbrush and draw with special soft crayons. With his new glasses on, he was able to see his plain white canvas come to life.

Marquise squeezing and rolling clay

Marquise has limited sight and could only see light and shadow from one corner of one eye, and loved working with Model Magic. When it was placed in front of him on a black board, he was able to find it no matter where it was placed, and loved to squeeze and pull and roll the soft, pliable clay. He also loved the “crunchy” shiny wrapper that the clay came in.

Paula drawing circles in yellow

The energy level was alive and exciting in Jay’s classroom, and I was able to work with the students in pairs. We learned to take one pastel at a time, to share with our friends, to wait for our turn, to be careful and respectful of our art materials, and to use these valuable skills to explore art-making in myriad ways.

Lindsey choosing one color at a time

Again, the students were open to any new experience, and were able to paint on mat board, foil, and plastic, to draw circles and lines with crayons, pastels, and even window-painting crayons. We explored textures with collages full of shiny bits, sand paper, soft fur, and much more.

Mixed Media: Model Magic on board with markers, paint, and glue

With Model Magic, we squeezed and pulled and rolled, and even poked it with markers to turn it new colors. The students taught me a whole new use for Model Magic when they squashed it onto their mat boards (it stuck there), and then proceeded to draw and paint and glue right on top of it. It was a truly multi-media process with beautiful results.
The classroom teacher, Laura Becker, had this to say about their time with Suzanne:

We are so excited to have Suzanne with us. We have students who are at times difficult to read, but Suzanne has gotten to know each child individually and has brought material that will excite and motivate each one of my students. I am so grateful that she has taken the time to know each one. Her projects allow each of them to express themselves and their abilities. It has been a real joy. She is very gifted.

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