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Take Avantage of Your Local Art Talent!

Photo of a man demonstrating how to draw for a 4th grade class I hope you know that I mean “take advantage of” in a good way! Every community has its share of local talent, so why not bring some of that influence into your classroom? Sometimes it helps our students to hear enthusiasm about Art coming from someone other than us! Inviting a local artist into your classroom can be an inspiring and even unforgettable experience for your students. And, you may be surprised by how willing these artists often are to share their expertise with your students…. all you need to do is ask!

When I met watercolorist Bob Newick at our annual Open Studios tour a few years back, I took a chance and asked him if he would be willing to visit one of my classes, to share some of his paintings and do an activity with my students. Mr. Newick, a prolific painter with decades of experience, enthusiastically agreed. I think his time in my classroom was as rewarding for him as it was for my students!

Mr. Newick had a great idea for my 5th graders, which you may want to try with your students. He brought in an old tricycle, which we placed in the center of the room after moving all the desks out of the way. The students then sat on the floor with drawing boards, large sheets of white railroad board, and black permanent markers. He gave a quick talk about contour drawing, reminding students to draw the shapes they saw and look for relationships between those shapes. He then demonstrated while the students watched in awe as he quickly sketched the tricycle, verbalizing his thought process and each decision he made along the way.

When it was their turn to draw, we were all amazed at the level of success everyone achieved, working directly with markers…. no pencils, and no erasing!!! There is something inherently fun about drawing a tricycle…. the subject itself brings back fond childhood memories and if the proportions are a little “tweaked” in some way (as they all were!) it just makes the finished drawings all the more charming.

Try this fun activity with your students and see what other great ideas the local talent in your community can bring to your classroom!

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