The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 3, 2009


Carlisle public school shares art at Gleason Library

For the fourth year in a row the Gleason Library has lent its walls to the Carlisle Public School. The show running all month marks the largest ever with over 350 works on display featuring works from kindergarten through eighth grade. Perusing the art one can see the progression of student ability over the years culminating in the middle school projects at and around the central staircase including the seventh-grade self-portraits and eighth grade masks. At the base of the central staircase you can view the Boston Globe gold-key award-winning piece by eighth grader Katy Scholten and silver-key piece by Lauren Tocci.

Seventh graders (left to right) Whitney Cook and Fiona Kinmonth, and eighth grader Allie Mundel pose in front of seventh-grade self-portraits. Cook’s self-portrait is on the lower right and Kinmonth’s is in the top row second from right. (Photo by Beth Clarke)

“This is the most work that has even been in the Gleason Library,” says elementary art school teacher Rachel Levy. She estimated that almost 70% of the elementary students have contributions on display. “All the students really succeed on most of the projects,” she adds, “I try to do projects where there is a good balance and a high success rate. I think that’s important. I want them to be challenged, but I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed.”

Each of the projects have common denominators so you can recognize them as belonging together in a unit, but the students take their own approach and creativity. “We try to base a lot of projects on an art history component,” says middle school art teacher Courtney Longaker. You can easily identify pieces inspired by Kandinsky (first-grade abstract collages), Van Gogh (second-grade “Starry Night” gel-effect marker pictures), Audubon (second-grade bird drawings), Dali (third-grade surrealist landscapes), Turner (fourth-grade seascapes), and Monet (seventh-grade paintings). World culture also factors in the curriculum as evidenced by projects such as Chinese new year dragon pictures (first-grade) Canadian Indian Inuit prints (fourth-grade), Aztec clay sun faces and Tibetan sand-painting designs (both by the fifth grade).

On the first floor you can view a variety of projects, including book-inspired drawings (kindergarten), leaf designs using markers, oil pastels and watercolors (first-grade) and weathervane mobiles made from cardboard, wood, pipe-cleaners and paper (fourth-grade). On the second floor there’s a gray-scale matching study (fifth-grade) where students use a lead pencil to create a five-shade scale. The students select a black-and-white newspaper photo, cut it in half and match the other side of the photograph applying their scales. “They’re pretty phenomenal,” says Levy, “The goal is when you step away from a distance it looks like a full photograph.”

“We do building blocks from K through eighth [grade], and this preps them for the later work,” says middle school art teacher Courtney Longaker. Nonetheless, the students do go back to review earlier concepts such as color wheels. “They come back from the summer and just need a reminder of the basics.” The sixth-grade color wheels depict the student’s progression before tackling middle-school projects. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito