What’s Going on in Museum School? (Clay)

20160329_144448The AMoA offers clay classes to young students ages 6-11 in the fall and spring sessions of Museum School. This is a favorite with children, because it gives them the opportunity to create with a medium they may have never experienced!

The kids work with hand building skills (slabs, coils and pinch pots ) to build pots, tiles, and whimsical sculptures. They discover the ‘ins and outs’ of working with clay and pottery tools, how to apply textures, and glazing techniques. Students learn how to join pieces of clay together and how to apply interesting details to their creations.

In addition to the hands-on creation, students also learn the vocabulary associated with clay and glazing, and about firing methods.


These fantastic little creatures were built by forming two pinch pots, and joining them together. Students use tools to model the features and details of their pieces, adding lots of quirky character!

Above are slab pots, with many different textures imprinted onto the surface. The edges are turned up to create a scalloped look on some, and bright, fun colors were glazed over the pieces to finish them.


For Valentine’s Day, clay students made heart tiles with lots of love inspired decoration! These were ready just in time to take home for the holiday.

clay hearts3


(more pictures to be added soon, so please check back!)


What’s Going on in Museum School? (Art Adventure)

Art Adventure is a class we offer for young learners, ages 4 & 5. Students are introduced to materials, methods, and ideas that are applied to a variety of projects throughout the 8 week session. Color, shape, texture, and line are explored through painting, drawing, clay, collage, and printmaking techniques.


We began this project by creating the background for these adorable snowmen. Students used white oil pastels to draw snowflakes, and then painted over the top with liquid watercolor, to achieve a water color resist. Many “oohs and ahhs” were heard, as they noticed the white snowflakes “magically” appearing through the paint!


To create the snowmen, students learned how to draw circles for the heads and an arc to create the shape of the body. Then, they cut them out and pasted them onto the (dried) backgrounds. For many children, this is their first experience with using scissors. The hand-eye coordination is a tough thing to master but by the second or third lesson that requires scissors, they have improved immensely through guided assistance!



The results are always completely unique!



This fun “relief sculpture” project was an adaptation from a lesson by famed art ed blogger, Cassie Stephens. Although the lesson contained some advanced techniques, these little artists were excited to use new, and unfamiliar materials, such as sharpies and tin foil.

We painted lines on the background, with neon paint to really make this project pop! This project fell during the week of Valentine’s Day, so as a class we learned how to draw hearts. Next we glued string to them, and then placed tin foil over the hearts and smashed it down to make the string reappear. Because this was very tactile, the students were concentrating, and excited to rediscover their designs.


These preschoolers never cease to amaze!


We believe strongly in teaching the fundamentals of art. These little art adventurers are already beginning to learn color theory by mixing primary colors to create secondary ones.


We walked through all the steps together, as students mixed their own paint and then created a color wheel umbrella.




In this next mixed media / drawing lesson, our little artists learned about jellyfish, and then created an underwater scene. They used chalk pastels to make the jellyfish appear see-through, and oil pastels to draw spindly seaweed. (lesson inspired by Deep Space Sparkle)




The last step was adding white splatter paint to make bubbles!

This next lesson was also inspired by Deep Space Sparkle. Our goal is to send students home with a wide variety of artwork, letting them explore mixed media over the 8 week session. Although students had used chalk pastels before, we used this lesson to introduce them to warm and cool colors. Plus, bright pastels against black paper is a “win win” for any project!


The pastels were divided into two tubs, making it easier for students to find the warm and cool colors.

We talked about “warm” colors reminding us of things like the sun, fire, and cozy blankets, and how the “cool” colors are like rain, and igloos and grass.

We also talked about landscapes, and the students had fun imagining that the mountains in these were gumdrops, and the sun a giant lollipop!

Even though these children are only 4 and 5, they can grasp art concepts that are not normally taught at such a young age, because vocabulary and techniques are built upon each week. Students work at many different levels, but we feel that these projects are interactive and enjoyable for each child!


And finally, my favorite lesson so far. Many of the ideas and teaching techniques behind this project were also borrowed from Cassie Stephens, and let me tell you – they really worked!


Students used their new-found knowledge of sculpture to create these bright and fun paper line sculptures. In the demonstration, we talked about the difference between two and three dimensional art, and I showed students how to make the paper strips stand up by giving them “feet”. They really loved that one (Thanks Cassie)!!


Students stayed engaged the entire time, and built some pretty amazing paper sculptures!




What’s Going on in Museum School? (Painting & Drawing)

Our students have been immersed in a variety of colorful projects this semester.. here are just a few examples.

Color Mixing:

Students ages 6-11 learned to mix their own secondary and tertiary colors from primary ones. Then they created masking tape designs on canvases as the starting point for a non-objective painting. Students filled in the shapes with the colors they had mixed and painted patterns on top, as the finishing step. The end results were so colorful and fun!

Watercolor Techniques:

We love seeing creativity in action! Here, students explored hands-on watercolor techniques, that can be applied in so many interesting ways. They experimented with a different method on each piece of the collage and then brought them together to create an abstract landscape. We used liquid watercolors so that the colors would stay bright and saturated.


Abstract Portraits:

In this quick lesson, students learned to draw facial proportions correctly, and then built on that to create an abstract portrait. Oil pastels were used to create patterns within the drawings, and then liquid watercolor was painted over to create a resist.


Students really enjoyed the freedom this project allowed!

Gesture Drawing:

Keith Haring’s cartoon-like, action packed artwork was the inspiration behind this gesture drawing lesson. Students learned about his background, and the symbols he used in his drawings and paintings. Then they were prompted to pair up, and pose in a silly position for one another, while the other partner created a loose, gesture, or silhouette drawing. This was achieved by dipping a paintbrush into india ink, and working quickly and fluidly to finish the drawing.


The final step was using acrylic paints to bring these bold, gesture drawings to life. Children were encouraged to use colors that would “pop”, like in Haring’s artwork. The finished projects were stunning!


(more pictures to be added soon, so please check back!)