‘Making art makes me happy’

Students show off their best work at year-end show

K. Vandervort
Dan Ehman, of Embarrass, takes photos of his child
Keith Vandervort

ELY – The face of art is alive and well in the Ely School District. As many as 200 pieces of students’ work were on display last week during an art show and spring concert event.

Ely Art teacher Kelly Chick said students learned about ceramics, sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media and collage during the year.

“Not every student comes to an art class feeling comfortable with their artistic skills or abilities,” Chick said.  “The process of creating art is a developed skill that is nurtured through hands-on learning.  With a desire to learn and self-discipline, any student can be successful in art class.”

She said she wants her students to have the opportunity to work different media, such as clay, painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.  “I feel it is important for students to share their artwork with their friends, family, school and community.  Creating artwork allows students to express themselves and gives them a chance to show others hidden talents they possess.”

She said her high school art teacher taught her to appreciate the artwork of others.  “He taught us how to draw, paint, work with clay, and use other mediums.  When I thought I was finished with an art project, he would guide me on how I could add more detail to a drawing or add a shadow in a painting.  He inspired me to become an art teacher,” she said.

Chick surveyed her high school and middle school classes to find out how they feel about learning through art. Here are some of their responses:

‰ “I love the different projects we do and each project is unique and individual.”

‰ “Art class shows another part of some people that they don’t get to show otherwise.”

‰ “I enjoy making hands- on projects.”

‰ “I love having a creative outlet in the school system.”

‰ “Making art makes me happy.”

‰ “I enjoy learning how to work with different mediums.”

‰“I enjoy being able to take my artwork home and use the clay mug I made.”

‰“I enjoy learning about different artists.”

‰“It is a way to express myself.”

‰“Art is a part of me and I am happy we finally got it back.”

This year Chick had a different middle school class each quarter.  “They have been very excited about having art this year,” she said  “They enjoy making art and learning about the process of creating artwork.”

She said many students have commented that they wish art class was longer than a quarter.  “It is great to see the spark and enthusiasm that they possess.  They enjoy the variety of projects that we have worked on.  They aren’t afraid to try new things,” she said. 

The high school class has had art all year.  “It has been great to watch their confidence in their artistic abilities grow.  They have made some amazing projects this year and after taking an art class, one student is considering art as a major in college.  Some of them have discovered talents that they did not know they had.  Some students struggle with reworking an area on their project when they feel it is complete, but they are getting better with this,” she said.

Student artwork was displayed as part of the Ely Art Walk during the Winter Festival this year. Art students also had two snow blocks in Whiteside Park that middle school and high school students carved. Their amateur blocks both won for the student category. 

Art online

Chick has been posting student artwork on Artsonia, an online student art museum.  “It has been a great way to share art projects with families and our community,” she said. People can purchase gift items with student artwork on them, such as coffee mugs, jewelry, t-shirts, or tote bags.  Twenty percent of these sales goes back into the school’s art program.

The website also has awards for students who are voted Artist of the Week.  Ely student Susan Cook won in November and received her artwork on a plaque along with a $50 gift card for Blick art supplies, Chick said.  Her classroom also won a $100 gift card to purchase art supplies through Blick.  “Our community donated supplies and money to support our art program throughout this year,” she said.  “I was able to purchase supplies that will last us hopefully for years to come, such as a large paper cutter, tools for clay and printmaking.  We were very fortunate to have so much support.  Without these donations, we would not have been able to make such a variety of projects.” 

With the success of the art show/music concert combination, Chick plans on having an art show in the winter and one in the spring in conjunction with the music concerts.  “It was wonderful to see families, community members, and students viewing the artwork. It has been a learning year for me as I am getting our art program running again.  I look forward to preparing for next year and working with our talented students,” she said.


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