Monday, May 11, 2015

Fine Arts Night

Art class was one of my favorites in school.  
I had an awesome elementary art teacher. She was young and fun and came up with creative projects in various mediums for us to do.  
Each year we had a student art show featuring work from every student in the school.
I was so proud to show my parents my artwork. 
Several studies show a correlation between the arts and a student's success and development. (You can google the importance of art in schools and find numerous articles on it).  
When we moved to the area we live in, our school didn't have any art or music teachers.  
They did have a program (Be Smart, Include Art & Music on the Move) where parents could volunteer to come and teach a music and/or art lessons to a class once a month. 
 I jumped all over this opportunity to teach art in my kid's classes and soon was organizing parents to come in every month to teach in every class an art history lesson with a related art project. 
I started displaying student art in this huge main hallway of the school.  Each month the work of a different grade level would be displayed.
Then I remembered back to my elementary art days and thought, "why not have a student art show?"
Fine Arts Night was born!
With great parent volunteers, we had our first show, displaying one piece of art from every student at the school.  We added art and music activity rooms and combined the school talent show into the evening.  We invited the district Fine Arts chair person--getting "good marks" for our activity.  We were really the only school in the city doing anything like this.  After district council meetings discussing the topic (nerve racking), the district hired art and music teachers so every school would have one.  Yeah!  We supported our new teachers and F.A.N. (fine arts night) kept getting bigger and better.  Then a new school was built and boundaries changed, so I started FAN at the new school.  It still grows each year. 
So, come on in and enjoy Fine Arts Night!

This year I made these fun triangle party banners to hang in the main hallway of the school. The school staff loved them and even wanted to leave them up for the remainder of the school year!  It makes things fun and welcoming when you walk into the school every day.  (tutorial coming soon!) At the end of the hall is our Fine Arts banner.  I used vinyl letters and laminated the paper squares before sewing it to the bias tape for durability and years of wear.  You can find a tutorial on how to make a similar banner {here}

Most of the student art work was hung on these panels that we borrowed from the district.  We also taped some art to the wall. Make sure to have a label on each piece with the student name, grade/class section, title and medium used.  The kids had fun coming up with titles!  You can simply mount or cut frames out of construction paper for the art pieces.  

Something new this year, our Masterpiece Photo Op!
Recognize this one?  Our version of American Gothic by Grant Wood.
I placed some information about the real work of art hanging from the easel. 
To make: get a copy of the artwork xeroxed onto transparency, use an overhead projector to project the image onto a canvas, trace on canvas and then paint with acrylic craft paints. 

This farmer and daughter are so serious!

 This hung on the wall in the hallway with all our art activity rooms. Kids could get a strip of paper from our volunteers to weave.  
Giant weaving!
To make: Get a roll of craft paper and cut slats in it every 2".  Strips of long construction paper are 11/2"wide. 

Put on your own Fine Arts Night!
Some other ideas that have worked for us:
1.  Save out a few art pieces prior to that night for students to choose from for the art show or have them make a special piece for the show
2.  We had 4 music activity rooms--ideas:  music walk (like a cake walk), prizes are mini musical items like kazoos, clappers, whistles, etc., music bingo, music craft like {this}or{this}, get your local middle or high school band or orchestra members to come demonstrate their instruments, karaoke room or Wii or Xbox game room, we had a learn basic ballroom dancing room (see if your parents have any musical, dance or art talents and have them share their skill in an activity room)
3.  5-4 Art activity rooms-- ideas: clay (one of our most popular rooms, the art teacher was in charge of this one), painting, drawing, origami, art bingo, weaving, cultural art projects, paper mosiac, torn paper collage, the possibilites are endlesss. Lots of ideas on Pinterest. Each year you can keep some of the same things but change up the activities a bit. (we always keep clay and art bingo is surprisingly a favorite, prizes are pencils, mini note books, mini ink stamps-Oriental Trading is great for prizes) (Posts coming with some art project ideas that we have used!!)
4.   have high school students run the activity rooms so parents (and those who usually volunteer for everything) can enjoy the evening, creating art, music and sharing talent with their kids. Decide how many volunteers you need in each room, make a sign up sheet listing the room and slots for these students to sign up next to.  This helps you keep track of who is where and what rooms need more help.
5.  set it up "open house" style- everything happening at once. We made a program listing what what and where everything was that was going on.  Hand out as people arrive.
6.  Talent show was divided in half with a big intermission.  Acts were listed on the program so you could see what part of the show they were featured. Put signs on the doors so people won't come in and out of the show during a performance, but are free to come and go after each act. Encourage "real" talent acts, kids that just want to do karaoke- there is an activity room for that! Have big groups (like school choir or orchestra) perform first so these kids can disperse. Limit them to 2 songs (they will be having their own concerts later in the year and you want to give time to small groups or individual talent)
7. Popsicle party to class with the highest percentage of attendance. Have the office print off class lists, highlight kid names as they come in the school, gives you a count of how many attended and incentive to come.  Shred your list in office after. 
8.  Leave a little treat on the desk of the teachers whose rooms you are using.  1000 Grand candy bar with a tag "You're worth 1000 Grand to us, thanks for letting us use your room for FAN!"

Chalk the block!
About a week before FAN night, students make sidewalk chalk murals in front of the school.  
5th is the oldest grade at our school, so this project is a special one just for them!
Classes rotate coming out every 15-20 minutes.  I divide them into groups of 3-4.  Each is given a square "panel" of the sidewalk.  They can draw anything art, music, school related or information about the event (great advertising!)  A fun way to get those creative juices flowing, work as a team and get pumped for FAN!

Fine Arts Night is so much fun!! 
I'd love to hear about your art project ideas or what you are doing at your school! 
(Share in the comments below)

THANKS Miss Kerigan! You made an impact on this elementary student!

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