While EAC’s Youth Art Month Exhibition continues, showcasing works from K-12 students of Washington County, we caught up with some of the participating teachers and parents about how art study is continuing at home. 

Haleigh Bryant, a first-grader at Whiting Village School, does a rock painting project as part of her stay-at-home schoolwork. Photo by Robyn Bryant.

“Making art is a good way for students to express how they’re feeling right now,” said Dawn Loper, art teacher for the Calais schools. “It can bring families together in making things, and it can bring balance to ‘homework,’ which for many now is mostly screen reading and typing.” The educator has been working with her high school students via Google Classroom, using artworks from the Metropolitan Museum for the first lessons, which include viewing questions and activities for students to complete at home.

Frederic Edwin Church’s Heart of the Andes (1859) heads a lesson exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world, part of the extensive educational resources on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s site.

“‘Remote learning’ has opened up a whole new world of teaching and learning for me!  Before the school closings I didn’t have the time or the motivation to try out any of the apps included with our google classroom accounts. I didn’t even know some of them existed.” The educator noted that though there are copious lesson plans online, some of these are of better quality for students. “The Met has lesson plans and activities for all grade levels; I’m going to use online material from Scholastic Art as well.”
A quick guide to the Met’s online resources may be viewed here.

Another art teacher, Lisa Fochesato from Whiting Village School, has been inspiring her students in a creative fashion. Since the school bus is being used to bring meals and work packets home for students, she has undertaken an ever-changing exhibition of the students’ own artworks—in the bus windows, alongside cheerful messages from the school. “Students will be able to see what other students are doing by viewing our traveling art show!” 
Whiting students have continued work on prompts from “Miss Fo,” as the students call Lisa, who encourages them to do some form of art each day. Each week one project is ear-marked for display in the bus windows. Meanwhile, Miss Fo maintains a lively social media page for the school’s art department, featuring an array of engaging yet accessible project ideas, such as setting small toys to cast a shadow onto white paper, then tracing the shadows, or sculpting and painting expressive faces using toilet paper rolls

Whiting Village School teacher Lisa Fochesato is using the school bus windows for an ongoing exhibition of student artworks created at home.

For Olivia Swann, a homeschooled artist self-taught in her medium, the occasion of EAC’s youth art exhibition began a time of sharing artworks with the community. “[She] holds most of her work pretty close,” said her mother, Katherine Swann, who moved to Pembroke with her family this past winter. “Drawing is something that consumes most of Olivia’s day and is a huge part of her life. She is usually shy with her words which can be especially challenging when you’re new to town. The show has given her an opportunity to form a connection with her new community using her most comfortable form of expression.”

Olivia’s works are created digitally. “[She] got her surface pro almost 3 years ago and taught herself to use a few digital art programs by watching YouTube,” noted Katherine. “She hasn’t received any formal instruction. She literally has thousands of drawings, most of which she keeps to herself. I was so happy when she agreed to share!”

Olivia Swann, Untitled, 2020.

Read our other stories about the Youth Art Month Exhibition here.

Also, EAC has compiled a selection of resources for arts education from home here; please let us know if you have suggestions for the page.

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