Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Painting like a master

 

David Martin

Maggie Schultz concentrates on painting a blue square on her canvas. The square later becomes a lake in the painting.

Thursday night, while most kids were at home working on homework or enjoying a few hours of free time, a group of about 40 parents and students at Harrison Elementary were painting a work of art.

Michelle Wickstrom, an art teacher at Harrison Elementary, hosted the school's first Art Night Thursday evening drawing double the number she anticipated.

"I was honestly shocked at the response we got," she said.

Wickstrom said the school has wanted to host an Art Club for the last few years, but schedules never worked out.

She decided to host an evening allowing parents to work with their children because while kids have the opportunity to join several activities, few opportunities allow parents to work and create with their children.

"Building or creating something with a child is a great way to get to know them and to understand how they think. Giving parents an opportunity to work alongside their student gives them a glimpse into ... (the teacher's) world," Wickstrom said.

The first project Wickstrom introduced was something similar to a Bob Ross painting. Ross, a painter featured predominantly on PBS  broadcasts during the 1980s and 1990s, used a unique and simple oil painting technique to create landscape paintings. Wickstrom said Ross was an inspiration for the "Paint Like a Master" project, coming up with the idea after remembering her daughter's complaints about how art teachers wouldn't let students paint on canvas, as well as a Bob Ross-themed challenge she made to her sister-in-law to paint a Ross-style work each month for a year. 

"I realized painting on canvas like a 'real' artist would be a way to draw kids in. We could paint on canvas and I could teach some of Bob's more simple techniques," she said.

Wickstrom received a grant to help host the Art Nights from the Sweetwater County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which is used to purchase art supplies. She said BOCES made a perfect partner for Art Night because of the board's commitment to support education for both children and adults.  

Two more Art Nights are scheduled this school year.

On April 20, Wickstrom will host a project titled "What the Heck is Quilling" while she will host the project "Monsters in Mush" May 9.

Wickstrom said she plans to host a paper making night sometime during the Fall 2017 semester.

 

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