By Charles Kuo, DC Elementary School Program Site Coordinator & Parent Outreach Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of Micah Shearer, AALEAD Staff
AALEAD introduces “Thomson Tales”! In this blog series, you will be enlightened with the latest happenings at our DC Elementary School Program at Thomson Elementary School. Now take a deep breath… and prepare to be amazed!
AALEADers work on their mixed media art pieces
It has been more than a month since our DC Elementary School Program has started, and I must admit that every day brings new surprises. One of those surprises occurred during a brainstorming session in our 4th and 5th grade class in the beginning of the year. As our students provided suggestions for curriculum, events, and activities, we found that they were particularly excited about one thing: ART!
"Stitch" by Johnny, Jonathan, and Jianheng
I was particularly surprised because our youth not only wanted to learn and do art, they also wanted to showcase and teach it, too! This past Friday, our 4th and 5th grade class hosted AALEAD’s first ever Thomson Art Exhibition! During the Art Exhibition, our 4th and 5th graders showcased original art, provided informative art tours, and facilitated workshops. The event was program-wide and held in Thomson’s cafeteria. Over the past few weeks, our students worked on three specific techniques of art:
Mixed Media (a collaboration of different art materials, giving students artistic license to express themselves)
Color Resistant (typically with water colors and crayons, the crayon will “resist” and/or repel the water color away from it, highlighting a message and/or image)
Abstract (the use of masking tape and paint to make complex patterns)
Simon leads one of his many tour groups
Despite initially being novices to these different techniques, our youth instantly fell in love with the art forms and started implementing their own perspectives and interpretations. For example, in the abstract piece entitled “Bella,” 4th grader Siyan described how she and her classmates put the piece together:
First, we got green, blue, and purple. Imara mixed them. I (Siyan) was watching the Twilight saga, and Bella was mysterious. Indigo is mysterious too, so I thought they matched. Next, Rahel came up with this wonderful idea for this picture.
"Bella" by Siyan, Rahel, and Imara
The exhibition was set up to be interactive, and students from our respective pre-K to 3rd grade classes were so excited to make art projects of their own. It was a treat to witness the collective excitement that took place in the venue. Everyone was engaged and ready to learn. Truthfully, what will resonate the most with me about this experience was the process. It was a joy to see our youth prepare and contribute to this event. Despite their initial doubts, they were 100% accountable and willing to serve every step of the way.
To many, art is considered to be one of our few universal languages or a means of communication that is said to be understood by all living things and beings. At this Art Exhibition, our youth exemplified that belief. Our youth took an interest that was personal and chose to share it. They empowered others to make art their own by simply taking an opportunity to lead.
A special thanks to Mr. Justin, our 4th and 5th grade teacher, for leading this event and mentoring our youth.