The Northern Lake County (Minnesota) Arts Board sponsors the Masterpiece Arts program in the Silver Bay area schools. I have been among the volunteer artists/teachers who provide art classes in elementary school classrooms at least once a month. I have concentrated on the 5th grade for the past five years, and have filled in for other volunteers in grades 3 thru 6.
My practice has been to do an overview Powerpoint presentation in December, and then four or five weekly sessions in January-February. My overview covers what I do as an amateur artist, and also recent travels that have current or historic art interest. My overall theme for the weekly sessions is color, starting with basics such as color wheels. Last school year, for example, several volunteers included something about the Washington Color Field of the 1950’s. I brought in examples of current manifestations. The prior year, I concentrated on master artists who had lived or worked in the Provence Region, where my wife and I toured in October 2006. Each of the last four years, my classes produced a large canvas acrylic painting based on these color themes. Many of the other classes have several years of large canvas works on display on the hallway walls and at the main entrance to the school.
I have been gratified by the support and cooperation of the teachers, as well as association with the volunteers and guest professional artists. For a very small population, total 11,000 in Lake County where I live, and 8,000 in neighboring Cook County, we have an amazing resource of artists and a supporting wide community.
Cypress swamp pre-Katrina near New Orleans.
Rocky Maze, Superior Hiking Trail