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Draper Journal

Draper Elementary embraces the arts — visual, music, dance

Jul 30, 2019 03:32PM ● By Julie Slama

Draper Elementary fourth-grader Drew Croshaw used three distinct elements in his totem pole art. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Draper Elementary fourth-grader Drew Croshaw was looking at the artwork displayed by his classmates as well as himself before he stepped into the commons center stage, first to dance, then to play the cello.

“The totem poles were a lot of work, but they were really fun to do,” he said, pointing out that his had a bird, tree and a design. “We had three distinct elements that we had to detail.”

This was Draper Elementary’s celebration of arts night that featured both two- and three-dimensional artwork and dances with white sheets portraying different cloud patterns. The Dragon Strings Orchestra, under the direction of Vanessa Croshaw, also performed 10 pieces from “Spring” by Vivaldi to a student-requested song, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“‘Pirates’ is my favorite because it’s fun, but it’s also challenging,” Drew said.

While every year Draper Elementary students look forward to their annual art show, the venue was changed to Corner Canyon High to allow more ease in parking and more space for both the artwork and performances.

“I love that Corner Canyon allows us to use this space to showcase our students,” Principal Christy Waddell said. “We were bursting at the seams and now, it is even more special as we continue to collaborate with the high school students on murals.”

For the past four years, Lone Peak Hospital has requested Draper Elementary students’ murals. The past two years, it has been a collaboration between Corner Canyon’s art club and Draper Elementary students.

“We decided on the theme and wanted to allow every student the opportunity to be involved,” said Kylie Welling, Draper Elementary’s Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program specialist. “We want the high school students to be the ones to take the lead and mentor our young emerging artists. Our kids really look forward to contributing to a piece of artwork that will be hung in the community.”

Another tradition is for second-graders to create quilt blocks and for parents to sew them together. Traditionally after a walking field trip to many historic sites in Draper, second-graders are given squares of fabric to draw with watercolor pencils one of the sites in Draper from its early days, including the Day Barn and Fitzgerald House and Cabin to more recent sites such as Draper Library, the swimming pool and amphitheater. Parents then volunteer to sew the blocks into classroom quilts.

This year, the Utah State Office of Education requested to display them this summer.

“Every artwork on display is integrated into content the students are learning,” she said. “I work alongside teachers to have students be able to demonstrate what they’re learning and express it through art, but it also tied into core standards in science, social studies and language arts,” Welling said, adding that many mediums are used in the artwork as well. 

Also new is the dance choreography and movement that Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program dance specialist Raegen Ford introduced to the school children and to the show.

“Our music teacher left and we knew Silver Mesa (Elementary) kids loved Ms. Ford, so we invited her to teach our students here as well. It’s been so good to have a movement class for our students,” Waddell said.

The art show continued to showcase other traditions such as third-grade students making stained glass art that shows the relationship between Earth and the moon that they learned in science, and fifth-grade students creating pottery bells while learning about matter and how the clay may change its shape, but not its mass.

Third-grader Kiera Henson took her mother, Jessica, to look at the art, including her splatter art and stain glass project.

“The splatter art I put three different colors on the paper by dipping the paintbrush into the paint and tapping my hand to get the paint spraying from the bristles,” Kiera said. “The stain glass was my favorite since I actually got to put it in the frame.”

Families look forward to the show every year, Welling said.

“This art show helps define who we are,” she said. “I’m a big believer in art and that no civilization can be without art. It defines our culture and our community.”