African art brings out creative side for students African american art work

Taylor Mill Elementary School
5907 Taylor Mill Road
Covington, KY  41015
859 356-2566
Sandy Williams, with the Cincinnati Art Museum, presents a painting to a fifth-grade class at Taylor Mill Elementary on April 13. Williams brought in paintings by famous African-American artists, and helped to train the students as docents as they complete their own African art exhibit at the school.
Thursday, April 20, 2006; Posted: 11:15 a.m. EDT BY JASON BRUBAKER | COMMUNITY RECORDER found at 

  TAYLOR MILL -- Students at Taylor Mill Elementary are offering a tour of Africa without ever leaving the school.

The students recently finished their lesson on African Art, and will have their artwork displayed in the school through the end of April. The students also acted as docents, or guides, for a April 18 tour of the exhibit for parents prior to a PTA meeting. 

Sandy Williams, a docent with the Cincinnati Art Museum, conducted docent training on April 13 for fifth-graders at the school, presenting replications of famous African Art that hangs at the museum, including works done by famous African-American artists. The art will hang at the school as part of the museum's Off the Wall program, which looks to show off museum items throughout the community to people who may not be able to regularly attend the museum. Throughout her presentation, Williams encouraged the students to look deeper into the artwork for different angles.

"They can be very creative with what they see," said Williams. "But as long as they can justify it, it means that they're thinking and looking at art differently. It's important for them to be exposed to this at a young age."

Cody Herald, a fifth-grader, liked looking deeper into the paintings.

"It's cool, because you always miss stuff the first time," said Herald, who pointed out a Batman-shaped shadow in an old print of downtown Cincinnati. "Plus, you can always find some cool things if you look at it differently. I just like learning about art, and these artists are all really good."

In addition to the museum's artwork, the students also have been designing their own African Art, after touring the museum last fall and gathering ideas. The students have created a blanket decorated with traditional African symbols, and also will create African masks and armlets as part of the unit.

"All of our grade levels are doing different projects," said Nikki Huth, the art teacher at the school. "Some are more detailed than others because of time constraints, but they're all related in a way. I think the kids have had a good time with this."

Huth said she was encouraged by the student's reaction to the docent training, and the project as a whole. The students has previously done a unit on Native American Art, as they learn about other cultures with art as the common theme.

"They definitely look at things from a different angle than sometimes we do," said Huth. "But that's part of this, is to look at the works close up and from a distance. They get different perspectives, and it helps their creativity with their own work. It's just a fun way to explore art."

Copyright 2006, Community Press, Community Recorder


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