Irvington Students Create Self-Portraits through ‘Eyes on Art’

Dows Lane Elementary School students created their own art as part of the PTSA-funded Eyes on Art program. (Photo courtesy of the Irvington Union Free School District)

Students at Main Street School and Dows Lane Elementary School created their own art, inspired by American impressionist artist Mary Cassatt, as part of the PTSA-funded Eyes on Art program from Nov. 18-22 and Dec. 16-20, respectively.

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. Through the program, trained parent volunteers taught the students about various elements of art and how Cassatt used those elements 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 reflection in a mirror. The learning experiences challenged them to capture all features of their faces in their own impressionist take of themselves.

“My students love learning about different artists, their styles of art and making connections between their major artworks and the art that they create,” 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 from observation 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 the love of art with them. In that way, our elementary students come to understand how all of Irvington values the arts. It is the program’s consistent support and commitment to the arts and arts education, year after year, that makes a true difference to our schools.”

For more information about the program, visit the PTSA website at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended For You

About the Author: River Journal