Equipped with white paper bags, crayons and markers and their imagination, students at Dows Lane Elementary School and Main Street School created their own art, inspired by Pablo Picasso, as part of the PTSA-funded Eyes on Art program from April 9-20 and May 7-11, respectively.
Under the direction of Elissa Strauss and Lori Hecker, a mother-daughter team and co-directors of the Eyes on Art program, the students learned about the famous artist and analyzed three pieces of his work, “Family of Saltimbanque,” “The Three Musicians” and “Woman With a Blue Hat,” before creating their own art. Through the program, parent volunteers instructed the students about the various elements of art and examined with them how the artist used those elements to convey a message.
“The students reflected upon how Picasso expressed his life experiences and portrayed his world in his paintings,” Strauss said. “They then created their own individual Cubist hand puppets that expressed aspects of how they look at their world.”
Picasso – one of the influential artists of the 20th century – worked in a broad range of styles, often simultaneously. He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture and the co-invention of collage. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer. Strauss and Hecker said they selected to focus on Picasso for the spring workshops because his collages were a major influence for Romare Bearden, the artist the students studied in the fall.
“Through a supportive and interactive learning environment, the Eyes on Art program encouraged the students to find personal meaning in works of art,” Strauss added. “An effective art project provides an opportunity for independent problem-solving, and the children relate to art when it has real, personal meaning for them.”
In addition to Strauss and Hecker, the program’s success was made possible thanks to Eyes on Art co-chairs Lisa Izes, Rebecca Rikon, Stacey Rosenkranz and Kristina Schmidt, as well as members of the PTSA, art teacher Nina Rossi, Main Street School Principal Joyce Chapnick and Dows Lane Principal Deb Marinello.