Why we have the Lower School Art Show

Guest post from Lower School Art Teacher Ann Schaumburger:

The Lower School Art Show is a time for children to share with the wider LREI community the results of dynamic experiences they've had with materials in art, shop and early childhood classrooms.  By using their fingers and hands, children shape materials to express their thinking.  They feel the textures of collage fabrics, the gooyness of paper mache, the plasticity of clay and the resistance of clay.  Getting an idea, using one's imagination, problem solving, flexibility when faced with a "mistake" and delight when something comes out exactly the way one wants it are integral to the art process.  
The paintings, collages, drawings, 3-d paper mâché sculptures and puppets, wooden chests and wooden spoons, animals of Manahatta in paper mâché and models of early 20th century immigrants living on the Lower East Side created by the Fours to the Fourth Grade exhibited in the Lower School Art Show reflect our belief that art making for children is a visual expression of their thinking and feeling.  The artworks are both individual and collaborative.  Labels describing the works are written or dictated by the children.  Questions that motivate the artworks are included.
During the Lower School Art Show children come in class or buddy groups to look at and discuss the artworks.  "Museum guides" will speak about a class exhibit and answer questions.  At the end of the visit, one class may sit down and respond to the other class's work or talk about what they noticed in the art show.
At each age, the artworks the children create express their unique visual response to their world.  The Lower School Art Show celebrates this.
We invite everyone to come and enjoy the Lower School Art Show.
P.S. Each time your child brings home art from school you have the opportunity to have your own art show.  How you talk with your child about their work can impact the experience for both of you.  For ideas about how to initiate a conversation about your child's artwork, read "How to Talk With Children About Their Art Work."
How to Talk to Children About Their Art
It is helpful to the growth of your child to validate and appreciate his artwork without bringing in value judgments.  By describing the elements of the work and listening to what your child is saying, you are supporting his unique expression and helping your child grow in self-confidence in his visual response to the world.
When your child brings home her artwork and says, “Look what I made today.”, what should you say?  Take a deep breath and look at the work. Think about what you notice about the color?  What are the lines doing?  Are they in a configuration that suggests an animal or a person or a house or are they marks that are long, short, fat or thin going in an up and down direction or zigzagging side by side?  Then you might say, with enthusiasm, “I notice those long shapes and that small circle look like a person.  I can see those long shapes in blue make the legs and I can see those lines in brown look like the hair.”  At this point, you might find your child telling you about her work.
As you continue to look together with your child at his artwork, it is helpful to make connections to his previous work.  “Last time I noticed how you made this person in green pants and this time the person is in striped pants.  I can really tell this person is running because you made bent legs and the arms are out.  Last time, I noticed the person had straight legs.  You and your child can become visual detectives together by noticing how visual clues convey meaning.  “I really can tell it is autumn in your painting because the color of the leaves on the trees are orange, red and yellow.”
By using descriptive language when responding to your child’s artwork you are creating a dialogue for continuing a discussion with your child about her growth in art and her growth as a person.