Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Students to learn about artists, their art in new school program

September 17, 2003

It will only be a matter of time before Baldwin students will be able to tell the difference between a Monet and a Degas or be able to identify a Mary Cassatt.

Awesome Art, a new program being introduced into the elementary schools in the Baldwin School District this year, will introduce students to pieces of art and their artists.

"This isn't really meant to be an art class," Kathryn Cox, coordinator, said. "This is art appreciation."

Cox, who has lived in Baldwin since April, first learned about the art appreciation program from a suburban Chicago school district, where she was a program volunteer.

"When I moved here and found out art was canceled, I thought OK, I can start this here," she said.

As part of the art program, volunteers visit classrooms once a month for six months bringing with them a different artwork poster for each session. During the 30 minute-session, the volunteers provide the students with a history of the artist and information about the artwork. If time allows, the students will be able to do an art project based on the technique used by the artist being studied.

Artists like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Frederic Remington and their artwork will be studied. Cox said the artists and their pieces are basic and ones many people will recognize.

She said she hopes to begin Awesome Art in October. The first and second graders at Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, the whole Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and the entire Marion Springs Elementary School will be participating. Cox said she will soon be talking with teachers at Vinland Elementary School about starting the program for its students.

She said much of the support for the program, including the art posters, is coming from Baldwin Community Arts Council.

But in order for the art appreciation program to be a success, she said she needs volunteers from the community to present the artists to the classes. She said it would take no more than two hours of time a month.

Not only will volunteers get a chance to interact with students, Cox said, they will also have an opportunity to learn along with the students.

"This is a fabulous thing because volunteers learn about the artists as well," she said.

Three volunteers are still needed at BESPC, six at BESIC and two at MSES. Those interested in volunteering can call Cox at 594-4064 or e-mail

Cox said she hopes this is a program that can continue for years because of what the students gain.

"The artists become real to them," she said. "They just aren't a name on a portrait anymore.

"And for some kids, it's nice to know there are other options out there besides becoming a ball player," she said. "You can make a living at art, and I think it's good for kids to know that."

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