What is a Gala Art Project?
Every year PJ Gala is held in support of the Grade 7 Quebec Trip as well as other PAC supported projectes and activities. The Grade 7 parents are responsible for the Gala, but every class is asked to make a classroom contribution of some kind which is auctioned on Gala Night. This could be an item that has been put together for charity (e.g. a baby carriage filled with new infant basics for a new mothers' shelter), or a trip that has been assembled, or the promise of a service by some members of the class (e.g. lawn clean up or bulb planting)... OR an Art Project, often around the theme of the Gala.
What is the Time-line on this Project?
- The GROOVY Gals occurs on May 8th.
- Class contributions will be displayed in the week running up to the Gala, so projects should be fully ready by May 1.
- Your project may need framing or put into some sort of display case etc. Find out how long the process will take, but allow at least 2 weeks, or April 16.
- Send short description of project by email to Gala classroom co-ordinator, Kathleen Akins, before Friday, March 19th.
- Send final detailed description of project to by email to Kathleen Akins by Friday, April 3rd.
- Do a TEST DRIVE at least one week before actual project.
- Arrange a time for your class to do their project with their teacher ASAP. You might wish to break the project up into several shorter sessions or the teacher may wish you to do this project during the scheduled art class over several weeks. March and early April look like the best time to do a project. Remember Easter Break: April 5-9.
- Think now about whether you need to order supplies from out of town and how long that will take. Order ASAP.
Who pays for materials?
Hopefully, your class 'mom' or 'moms' have gathered parent donations for Gala, class parties, teacher presents, etc. If not, a Gala donation will have to be solicited from parents. I wish there were another way to do this, but hopefully you will have enough funds for a good project. The real expense for these projects is usually the final framing if needed.
This is something think about in advance, because finding a thrifty option may take some time. Art stores do not geneally give discounts for charity or educational projects for the obvious reason (art is a favorite fundraiser for both schools and charities). You might want to delegate this problem to another class parent — he or she can phone art stores, ask other parents about mat cutting or carpentry skills (for basic wood frame). If you are using canvasses, deep canvasses are decorative in themselves. You might want to check out the following web site to see what is available locally from our local (vancouver.b.c.) art store:Opus Art and Framing
What Makes For A Successful Project?
I am a big fan of collaborative art for kids — the pride in producing 'real' art is palpable in the kids because it is a genuine accomplishment. Well, I could go on, but won't. Some of the projects I have done with kids have been utter disasters, some great successes. So, for what it is worth, here are some of things I have learned.
- Parents and kids both love to see a part of the completed project that "belongs to" them (or their child). Especially younger children, but I think, really, all of us feel that way. Everyone wants to be able to point and say "I did THAT part" or "That's the part that I made". Even though the project is collaborative, we all want to see the part that we did. Some ways to do this are:
- Use small individual canasses that can be hung together— e.g. in a pattern of twelve canvasses, 3 x 4.
- Use one frame but with the mat that has multiple windows.
- Divide a single canvass or project into grid-like sections and give everyone a square.
- Divide a work by theme or by animal or flower or....
- Big, bright, colourful. Yes, Edvard Munch (The Scream) was a great artist, as was Francis Bacon ("That horrible man and his horrible paintings" as the Queen once said) but maybe not for.... Kids are really impressed with "Big" — as in art on a large scale that they themselves have made with real art supplies (as opposed to 'kid' art supplies). And they love bright and colourful. So are/do their parents.
- TEST DRIVE. In my experience, this is probably one of the biggest factors in a successful project. Once you have figured out what you want to do , you need to try out your idea —on a smaller scale if need be—with a real live child of the appropriate age. Or maybe two or three, if you have them. This is because there is always something that you do not know orhave not ianticipated—e.g. you have forgotten to buy a material, the art materials/techniques are trickier than they look (or are the wrong kind for what you are doing), what looks obvious to you from an adult point of view is often far from obvious to a 7 year old. This is true even if you are following step-by-step instructions from a detailed website or book. At least two weeks before you actually do your project, spend an afternoon with your own child and a few friends and this will give you valuable information about materials, actual times required, difficulties that could be smoothed over, etc. ' ADDED BONUS: This will give you an example to show your class which has been produced by a child, not an adult. This will give them impress them deeply and given many kids more confidence.
- Use 'Adult' Art Supplies. Because we want these projects to be around for many years, it's necessary to use 'real' supplies — good quality paints, papers, varnishes or whatever you are using.
- Make sure your classroom teacher is on side. The most valuable person in the class, even if he or she is 'merely' observing, is your child's teacher. Try to schedule a meeting with the teacher well in advance, ask for permission and advice about the project. Most teachers are thrilled to have someone lead a class art project if the project is well-organized and educational. But you are asking a teacher to give up class time and it's important that the project be worth this sacrifice.
- Choice but not too much choice. This is perhaps the hardest thing to figure out: how do you give kids enough space to be creative but not have so many choices that the project spins out of control as has no theme or unity as a work of art? Most kids hate to be told EXACTLY what to do; but you need to exercise some control in order for the project to come together as whole. Some good ways to do this are:
- Choose a colour scheme for the project (say 4 or 5 colours) and but make sure here is lots of choice about how those colours are used or choice in the subjects. For example, if your theme is a zoo, then every child could choose an animal but there are only 5 colours that can be used to represent that creature (resulting in some great RED lions, etc.). See below for Robert Indianna'a LOVE painting. One could keep letters all red, but the children choose how the letters go and how to do the background colours selecting them from your colour scheme.
- Choose a theme and then use small number of symbols or icons that be rendered in an indefinite number of colours. The Peace Signs below use this technique (note the many colours used) as do Warhol's famous "Marilyn" prints.