Late last year, students at Main Street School and Dows Lane Elementary School created their own art, inspired by American Impressionist Mary Cassatt, as part of the PTSA-funded Eyes on Art program.
The program enabled the students to learn more about the famous artist, who portrayed family themes and portraits of women and was especially interested in the bond between mothers and children. Trained parent volunteers taught the students about various elements of art used by Cassatt to convey a message.
Over the course of a week, the students created self-portraits using colored pencils and pictures of themselves, or by looking at their reflections in a mirror. The learning experiences challenged them to capture all aspects of their faces in an impressionist take on themselves.
“My students love learning about different artists and their styles, and making connections between major artworks and their own art” Dows Lane art teacher Marisa Micolucci said. “It’s truly a special treat when parents and community members volunteer their time to spend with our youngest artists and share their knowledge about art.”
Nina Rossi, Main Street School art teacher and chairperson of the Visual Arts Program, said her students chose their own drawing materials, from pencils and colored pencils to crayons and markers. Subsequently, the students have been continuing to explore visual narratives through other subjects, including drawing food, landscapes, and objects, to tell a story.
“The value of this program is the connection it makes between art and the community,” Rossi said. “Our students see parents who are not teachers, spending their time learning about an artist and presenting it to a class of students – which is not an easy task – only because they want to share a love of art with them. In that way, our elementary students come to understand how all of Irvington values the arts.”
For more information about the program, visit the PTSA website at irvingtonnyptsa.org/eyes-on-art.html.
Photo courtesy of the Irvington Union Free School District