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Art Across The District 'Takes A Closer Look'



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Art Across The District ‘Takes A Closer Look’

By Eliza Hallabeck

Students across the district were asked to “Take a Closer Look” for a collaborative art project that is now hanging in the schools after Sandy Hook School art teacher Leslie Gunn visited Santa Fe, N.M., last summer.

The 2009 trip was paid for by a grant, and brought Mrs Gunn to Santa Fe to learn more about the artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

“Coming back to Newtown with information, photos and many exciting ideas,” the write-up for the exhibits explains, “Mrs Gunn held a professional development workshop for her fellow art teachers in which we were all inspired to bring some of those ideas into our classroom.”

Each grade level’s works of art is presented in the currently hanging exhibits.

“O’Keeffe really looked at things through a different lens,” said Mrs Gunn on Monday, March 8.

Mrs Gunn said district art teachers came together the previous week to combine and share artwork from the different grade levels, so each school could represent each of the grades.

“It worked out so well that we are definitely intending to make this a yearly event,” said Mrs Gunn, adding the program may be based on different artists or concepts in the future.

The process of creating a theme across the district is a great way to connect both the teachers and the students, she said.

“There has just been a terrific response from students seeing the art from all the grade levels,” said Mrs Gunn.

Middle Gate first grade students created works that used viewfinders to select parts of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work and reproduce it with crayon.

Head O’ Meadow second grade students also used a viewfinder to look closer at the artist’s work, with special attention to her floral paintings, to enlarge that section of the work.

Hawley School third graders selected an object, created a contour drawing of the object, and finally took a closer look at the object by choosing a section of their drawing to enlarge for a painting.

Sandy Hook School fourth grade students chose an organic object and focused on the form, shape, and texture of that object, either drawing the whole object first or part of the project as an enlargement.

Reed Intermediate School fifth graders used blending techniques to mix the oil pastel colors of simplified and magnified views of objects, while sixth graders at the school approached the assignment as an abstract composition.

“An adjustable viewfinder was used to frame a small portion of a photograph, magazine picture or object in the art room,” said exhibit write-up reads. “Students were then able to ‘zoom in’ and ‘take a closer look,’ and produce thumbnail sketches to help select the best compositional view.”

Newtown Middle School seventh grade students brought in buttons to take a closer look at, while eighth grade students “Took a Closer Look” at themselves.

“Using a continuous line, they drew their self-portraits focusing on their mouths,” reads the write-up.

Newtown High School students in ninth through twelfth grade created conceptual self-portraits and psychological characteristics of themselves and their environment.

Mrs Gunn said each of the art teachers in the district came up with how they would teach the “Take a Closer Look” course at the schools.

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