VSA Mentor Artist Marty Meade at Mill Valley Middle School

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I look forward each year to working with special needs children at Mill Valley Middle School who are diagnosed as ‘Developmentally Delayed’.
I have found that they are capable of doing all of the projects that I take to the other schools.  The first day they paint on canvas. Acrylic paints give them control of a medium, and they end up with beautiful paintings.   I cut out a drawing of a tulip, and brought in a bouquet.   I found that some children just painted inside of the drawing, others, used it to copy from as they looked at the still life.
Shrinky Dinks, heated plastic art, provided an exciting new material for them.   There was some confusion at first, but after their first piece we almost ran out of material.
Mock stained glass made with laminated plastic and colored tissue provided them the concept of transparency and what happens with light.  They all wanted their pieces hung in the window.  They are still hanging, and will probably be up until the end of the school year.
Watercolor landscapes were created from photographs that I brought from my personal photo library.  I made enough copies so that the students could keep the photograph.  It was interesting to see how well they studied the photo, and painted what they saw.
Glass fusing continous to be fun.  Most of the children had done this, so they were eager to begin.   I was a little tense doing this, as a member from MCOE was in the classroom doing an observation.  The smile on his face as he watched all of the children engaged soon settled my nerves.  In this project they are picking up cut glass with their tweezers and gluing  them onto a base of glass.  (I take them to my studio to fire them andreturn them the following week).
We made some beautiful books from the marbeled paper, and one of the aides patiently wrote on the board the words that the students wanted spelled. This project is interesting for the child that is more interested in the paint in the water then the actual painting. I brought in finished sheets of marbeled paper that were able to use in their books. This gave them a chance on how to see their own projects could be used.
I look forward to another year with this group. It is delightful to see them all eager to see me, asking “What are we going to do today, Marty?”

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