SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2017

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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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 35 whose art teachers are using rock painting to teach them about public art. Perhaps those teachers are focus- ing on artists such as Keith Haring, Banksy, or Andy Goldsworthy as they introduce interdisciplinary lessons by throwing in a little earth science, geology, and aboriginal or prehistoric cave painting for good measure. One of the co-founders of the group, Amy McSpadden, teaches elementary art in Memphis. She describes 901 Rocks! as "a grassroots campaign to bring people together through a creative activity, estab - lished on the premise to promote positivity throughout the 901 area." The other founder, Lisa Dawson, is a nurse who lives and works in Mem - phis. She originally created it as a way for her own children to share some kindness along pathways in Midtown Memphis. This act of kind - ness has now grown to more than 18,000 participants. The Ripple Effect The rocks, which vary in size, design, and detail, painted independently and also at "rock parties," are bringing the community together through a cre- ative activity and have also become a way to spread good will. In fact, a rock painting party was recently hosted in Memphis to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. No Stone Unturned The rock painters are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to having diverse themes. Some paint rocks to raise awareness about issues such as breast cancer. Others honor sports teams, current events, or paint fun characters and symbols from television shows, movies, and lit - erature. Still others simply share an encouraging word or phrase. One of the rules of the game is that the rock must include the words, "901 Rocks!" somewhere on the sur - face. The finder can either choose to keep the rock or hide it somewhere else, but they are encouraged to post a photo of the find on the website (see Web Link). A Rock-Solid Tomorrow Keith Haring once said, "Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic." The magic that Lisa Dawson and Amy McSpadden have conjured up with a few rocks and a simple idea is giving this com - Previous page: 901 Rocks! painting at Bruce Elementary School, Memphis, Tennessee. Top: A colorful fish rock painted for 901 Rocks! Right: Student Josie finds a caterpillar rock. Left: Bruce Elementary students with finished painted rocks. Thanks to 901 Rocks!, man in our area are discovering for the first time how fun it can be to paint on alternative surfaces. munity a rock-solid start for a better tomorrow—a tomorrow where chil - dren and adults sit together and paint rocks, then give their art away simply to spread kindness and beauty. And that, my friends, rocks. Melody Weintraub is a freelance artist and middle-school art teacher at Briar- crest Christian School in Eads, Tennessee. melodyweintraub @ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K

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