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Draper Journal

Willow Springs Art Night brings families together

Jun 18, 2018 05:09PM ● By Julie Slama

Families came to support Willow Springs Elementary’s art night that featured more than 1,000 student pieces of work. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Willow Springs fifth-grader Kate Ord described her perfect day — crepes, Lagoon, Hawaii, sushi, Disney World, Outback Steakhouse, sleepover with friends — through artwork and compared it to those of her classmates. 

The fifth-graders’ days were illustrated through collage graphs. Using pages from magazines and papers, they created cityscapes to illustrate their favorite activity being the tallest. 

“I thought of it more as fun, but we were learning too,” Kate said, showing her family she used colorful strips to make her cityscape. “I like art. We get to go once every two weeks, but I want to go more often. I like it more than computers because we get to be more creative.” 

The Ord family, who also saw second-grader Sam’s artwork, were part of the hundreds who came to see more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork displayed at Willow Springs third annual art night, May 8.

As families entered the multi-purpose room, it was apparent they had entered “under the sea,” as there were painted paper fish, marine life prints, jellyfish, kelp and seaweed artwork and colorful sea turtles on the walls. Once inside, there were clay fish, papier-mâché puffer fish and a dolphin, crabs, jellyfish, sea stars and more underwater life created through art techniques. 

Along with the ocean theme pieces, there were some 3D masks, clay leaves and owls and other artwork rounding out the students’ experiences that tied to what they studied in the classroom this year, said Beverly Taylor Sorensen art specialist Mindy Van De Graaff. 

“The students are not only learning the art style and the process, but we are integrating it into the core classes so they are learning more about their subject areas,” she said.

For example, when the students were learning about the environment and the impact pollution has on the animals, they learned about it through the marine life artwork they were creating. When students studied life cycles, it was strengthened through creating the different stages of a butterfly in their artwork. 

“We are reinforcing what they’re learning. We’re learning how to solve problems a different way, through creativity. It’s been fun to see the students make connections,” Van De Graaff said.

When Van De Graaff begins a lesson, she will teach students about the art style and the artists who may use that style. She will review what core lesson they’re learning and show how the artwork they’ll be learning ties into that subject matter. 

During the lessons, about 30 Corner Canyon High School students come to help at the school, including with the artwork. 

“They’re great and help the younger kids with glue or sitting next to them as they create,” she said. 

Through the lesson, Van De Graaff allows students to use their own creativity in their pieces. 

“It’s so exciting and fun for the kids. It’s pretty impressive with what they’re able to do,” she said.

In addition to the art on display, students could see their classmates’ portraits of faculty, participate in an I Spy around the art gallery or try their hand in a textured fish project, which they could take home. 

Bella Vista preschooler Oaklynn Scieli was at the make-it take-it table with her grandfather, fifth-grade teacher Mark Besendorfer. 

“The concepts and quality in the art has been remarkable,” he said. “The students did a project focusing on colonies that went right along with our curriculum. It’s really supporting what we’re doing in the class, but also encouraging kids through another form of learning while having fun.”