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Draper Journal

Oak Hollow students learn meaning in art as they sharpen their techniques

Jun 03, 2020 12:59PM ● By Julie Slama

Oak Hollow students try drawing realistic-looking human figures after a lesson from the Springville Museum of Art outreach coordinator. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Oak Hollow third-grader Carter Mallard was learning how to draw a tornado-shaped body below an oval-shaped head, then adding two hot dog-shaped ovals as legs and arms to create his drawing of a human.

“I’m learning to draw a human better,” he said. “It’s fun to be creative.”

The third-grader learned the skills alongside his classmates earlier this school year when Springville Museum of Art Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Till taught the youngsters how to create a gesture drawing.

“We talked about having confidence in their drawing,” Till said. “It’s fun for them to draw their classmates and put into practice what they learn.”

Till said that Springville Art Museum reaches about 90 elementary and junior high schools per year and teaches tolerance and acceptance, creativity and provides an avenue to express emotions through art.

At Oak Hollow, she introduced pieces of art, “Youthful Games” by Gary E. Smith and “Camille, Seated” by Robert T. Barrett, where students talked about meaning in the pieces, before she taught art skills appropriate to grade level.

That meant, fifth-graders learned figure drawing of humans beginning with shoulders three times the length of an oval head followed by a pentagon-shaped chest and trapezoid-shaped hips before adding the legs and arms that bent appropriately at the knees and elbows.

Fifth-grader Yulia Brattos practiced those techniques.

“It was cool making characters more realistic than just stick figures,” she said, “and it was way easier than just trying to draw them.”

After learning the initial figure drawing, Till asked for volunteers to pose, bending their bodies in different positions for classmates to draw. Fifth-grader Conner Russell was a model.

Classmate Elise Osborne, learned drawing his pose could be challenging, but rewarding.

“We learned how to make the figures bend and move as Conner did and it became tricky, at first, but then, as I got it, it really began to be fun. I now do them at home, grabbing a piece of paper and doodling,” she said.

Elise also planned to incorporate her art lesson into illustrations she was making for a poetry assignment for French dual immersion.

The art lesson was done during their regular time when they meet with the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program specialist Holly Taggert.

“Springville Museum of Art reached out and offered the lesson, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for the students to learn from their outreach program,” she said. “This is providing them a good base on art appreciation and how to draw the human body and manipulate it proportionally.”

Taggert has taught all genres of art to Oak Hollow students, having them study art masters then create a variety of art from 3D collages to totem poles to plastic water bottle sculptures.

“I teach a variety of genres and mediums in art,” Taggert said. “When they do art, it helps them learn alternative ways to expand their mind in different ways. It can be included and reinforced in the curriculum. It gives them a chance to be creative in a structured classroom day and it can serve as stress therapy.”

Earlier in the school year, Taggert said one student was sitting in class, apparently having a difficult day.

“I said to that student, ‘Sometimes I draw, and I don’t think about anything else. I go home doodle, create, paint, and it helps me not be stressed.’ And the student reported back to me that it helped,” she said.

Art also helps students build confidence, Taggert said.

“They come in, without confidence, saying ‘I can’t do this,’ but when it is broken down into simple shapes that we put together, like today with Springville, it simplifies it and they believe in themselves and share what they can do,” Taggert said.

For Till, as she reaches students with her lessons, she sees them achieving more than they expected.

“I see them practice and feel proud of what they accomplished,” she said. “That says a lot.”