SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2008

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Elementary Studio Lesson Community Friendship Helen Graham Gurny A t P.S. 59 Community School in the Bronx, New York, we had been working very hard to create unity and cooperation within our school. In the playground area was a 135-foot wide by 5-foot high cement wall, which had an old, painted mural covered with graffiti. We decided that a new mural would be an excellent way to spruce up the yard. To that end, we volunteered our school to be part of New York Cares Day in October and show our community and our school that the people of New York do care about them. New York Cares is a volunteer organization that creates opportunities for New Yorkers to give their time each year through volunteer projects. Our project was to replace the old mural with a new one, as well as clean and organize the inside of our school. New York Cares promised to send 38 us about 100 volunteers on a Saturday to complete this project. They also promised to supply gallons of different colored exterior paint, primer, paintbrushes, rags, and other paint supplies. It all sounded too good to be true. Could such a huge mural be painted in one day? Preparation for the Mural Before the volunteers came, the supplies arrived as promised. Our school custodians prepared the wall by putting two coats of primer and two coats of white paint over the old black, dreary mural. In the meantime, we needed the artwork for the mural. Each third grader received a manila paper fence Inspiration "post" to use for a self-portrait. They We wanted to make the wall inviting drew their self-portraits in pencil and to the school and community in the outlined them hopes of keeping with a very it graffiti-free. I We had been working very thin permanent had just begun hard to create unity and black marker. Ann Johnson's cooperation within our school. They colored the "Friendship drawings using Fence" lesson crayons. Fifty-six drawings were from the February 2007 issue of selected to be used on the wall. SchoolArts with my third graders. In this lesson, students created self-porWorking on the Wall traits on individual fence pickets that Teachers Ruth Friedlander, Nicole were then combined to make a fence. Magnotta, and I, as well as Gretchen I realized that this project would be a Adreon, a muralist from New York wonderful idea for the outdoor mural.

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