Art, identity, and self expression in King Lower School

How do I express who I am through art? 

King students in grades 4 and 5 confront this challenge, developing self-expression as well as technical drawing skills. 

Grade 4 students this fall created self-portraits in the style of phone selfies. The young artists decided to use facial expressions, clothing, accessories, and apps, to depict what they look like and to represent their identity.  

In a separate project, studying how pop artist and social activist Keith Haring used cartoon-like figures to convey public messages inspired grade 4 students to create their own artwork. Students were engaged by the idea of educating through art and applied Haring's quote, "art is for everybody," to their own concepts using figures to represent community, love, friendship, and anti-racism beliefs.

Also this fall, grade 5 students completed keyhole paintings featuring doors with old fashioned keyholes to represent quarantining. Students painted their choice of location within the keyhole opening, depicting where they wished their door would have opened to while they were "locked down" as a precaution against COVID-19. Some students chose to show canceled trips, while others drew family and friends they were unable to visit in person. 

Grade 5 students additionally studied contour lines. "By copying a Picasso line drawing positioned upside down, the artists learned how to draw what they see, rather than what they know," explained art and design teacher Debbie DePouli.   

This exercise helped students deepen their observational drawing skills. Enthusiastically tackling the next challenge, students applied their enhanced skills to drawing shoes.  After carefully depicting the outlines of their shoes, students used shading techniques to add color and form.

Students will have further opportunities throughout this year to develop their representational drawing skills, as well as their understanding of the expressive capabilities of art. 

"With the turmoil and uncertainty of our current times, the art studio is a place for students to hone their creativity, while having a safe outlet to process their experiences and emotions," Ms. DePouli reflected. 

Learn more about King School's project-based teaching and learning in our Reggio inspired early childhood program and grades 1-5 program.  Learn about the Art and Design program in which students are engaged in art-making based on observation and vision.