Many schools that use our Meet the Masters curriculum plan an end of year showcase of student art created throughout the school year. One such school is Village Elementary in Coronado, CA. The Village Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is currently busy preparing for their 3rd Annual Family Arts Night and Artwalk (click link to read the recap of last year’s event). The Artwalk celebrates visual arts for every student TK through 5th grade.
It started when the PTO purchased the Meet the Masters (MTM) Art Education Program after funding for the art teacher was lost. Each track of the program features seven master artists for each grade level, such as Monet, Warhol, Chagall, O’Keefe and Miro. Each lesson introduces art history through the lives and experiences of the artist, in addition to his or her works of art. There are a series of slides and written scripts pertaining to each artist. After the interactive presentation, students create artwork influenced by that master artist. Students retain and remember these artists in so many different ways. One student, a year after learning about Picasso in first grade said told her mom, “It just feels like I am in Picasso’s blue period,” after an argument with her brother!
Cyndi Fuhrmann started organizing MTM parent volunteers three years ago. Most parents had little or no art experience, but the program is designed with step by step directions and a teaching video to make the lessons accessible for anyone who wants to do it. Cyndi started with around 10 volunteers, but over the past two years has trained over 100 incredible parents who spend their time and energy prepping, assisting and even teaching the art lessons at Village Elementary alongside the amazing staff. All have welcomed the “Art Army” as fondly nicknamed by Village Vice Principal Tanya White. These moms, dads and grandparents believe that art matters and they are making it happen. New-this-year Principal Heidi Bergener is thrilled and excited to attend her first Artwalk, along with members of the school board, the local arts commission and the community.
Family Arts Night is a community event which transforms the Village elementary campus into a beautiful and vibrant Artwalk. Each student chooses one piece of MTM artwork he or she has created during the year from his or her art portfolio. Parent volunteers are currently dedicating their time to mount and label each piece of artwork in preparation to hang all 850+ pieces of art around the school for this event. The team of parent volunteers making this happen is growing every year and this event could not happen without them. One volunteer shared that she enjoys helping to prepare the artwork because she gets to see so much of it up close, and then “to watch the children on Family Arts Night as they pull their parents along pointing and exclaiming and sharing information about the master artists, it’s so rewarding to be a part of instilling that art history knowledge and appreciation of art.”