All Arts Day at Stevenson Elementary School is designed to introduce students to various ways to explore their artistic and creative sides.
The annual event, sponsored by the school’s PTO, sets aside a day for students to immerse themselves in the world of art.
This year, All Arts Day also gave students the opportunity to learn about other children and cultures around the world and see how their own lives compare.
“I think and know (Stevenson’s visual arts scholar) that Laura Bova thinks it’s really important to acknowledge people’s pasts and all the cultural history that comes with it,” said Anna Kalnow, a parent. of Stevenson PTO who was president of All Arts. day, which was April 29.
The theme for All Arts Day was ‘diversity’ and each class received a copy of ‘This is how we do it’, a non-fiction picture book by Matt LaMothe that chronicles the daily lives of seven children, each from a different country.
“It follows them through an entire day, from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed,” Kalnow said.
The children featured in the book come from India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Peru, Russia and Uganda, Bova said.
“They talk about what they have for breakfast, where they live, what their school day is like,” she said. “Our students can think about how the things they do every day compare to the people in the book.”
Stevenson teachers had the option of incorporating the book into their classroom activities or lessons, and principal Lisa Sullivan coordinated a read-aloud from the book, Bova said.
ONE Grandview, a community group working to promote diversity and inclusion in the community, made a donation to help fund the purchase of “This is how we do it” workbooks for each Stevenson student, said Kalnow.
Students will take the notebooks home and fill the pages with drawings and words to look at their own lives and how they compare to those featured in LaMothe’s book, she said.
During All Arts Day itself, students participated in activities such as Shibori, a Japanese tie-dyeing technique; create Ukrainian Pysanky eggs; fashioning Ghungoo bell bracelets, a musical anklet used in Indian classical dance; and making Guatemalan dolls.
All Arts Day included visits from illustrator/educator Thom Glick and Columbus fiddler Kevin Hagans.
“It makes it a much more rewarding experience for students to have that personal connection with an artist,” Bova said. “It’s more authentic learning. They really see that the work of art they see somewhere is created by a real, living person who has their own approach and their own vision.”
The students worked with Glick to create murals that will be installed throughout the Stevenson Building.
Glick visited the school for three successive Mondays before All Arts Day to hold 30-minute workshops each week for each grade level, Bova said.
He gave insight into how he creates his character-driven illustrations and incorporates archetypes including heroes, villains and crooks into his work, she said.
“Thom gave our students a nice drawing tutorial which they used to create their own characters and help them come up with ideas for murals,” Bova said.
“I found that the students really liked animals. A lot of them included animals in their ideas. What’s really fun are the stories they come up with. They can draw a simple house, but there’s has a whole story that they imagine in their imagination about this house.”
As part of the workshops, Glick created outlines of drawings and invited students to fill them in and color them as they pleased, said third-grade student Will Woodland.
“One of his drawings that I saw really inspired me,” Will said. “It was a cat in space. It was really funny.”
Additions Will made to Glick’s character outlines included dressing a figure in a ripped jumpsuit.
The overalls strap was torn “because he was a zombie,” and a zombie’s “work” can damage his clothing, Will said.
Hagans, who worked with each class on musical improvisation.
The students brought the instruments they made with music teacher Brian Petit.
“He took 2-liter plastic Coke bottles, cut them in half, and stretched plastic over the bottle to make it the surface of a keg,” Will said.
The resulting instrument made “a wobbly sound”, he said.
Third-grade student Annie Gephart said she enjoyed Glick’s workshops and learned more about character design. She was looking forward to adorning the silhouette of a dog with a collar and a bone.
“I put a little crown on his head because his fur is so neat,” she said.
Annie said she was inspired by her family dog, Lucy, an English cream golden retriever.
“She has white fur, so we have to make sure we keep her nice and clean,” she said. “The mud really shows on his fur.”
Drawing is fun because you can do it however you want, Annie said.
Of all the archetypes Glick talked about, Annie said she liked the hero the most. She drew a picture of a boy who is a hero, but he’s not a superhero who wears a cape and has super strength, she said.
“He’s just a good person doing good things,” Annie said. “He’s a hero to me.”