Unity Days – Collaborative Circle Weavings

Unity Days have quickly become a loved Randall tradition! We have two Unity Days in fall and two in the spring. Unity Days have a dual purpose. One, to get assessments done by pulling students out to complete them throughout the day and two to mix everyone up by grade level and experience lots of different community building activities throughout the day.

This year’s Unity Day in the art room, students were all involved in collaborative circle weavings. Creating art work in circle patterns or mandala designs have long been known in many cultures and religions to bring restorative benefits and meditative qualities to the artist and the observer.

Part of an art show for the Race to Equity Summit through the YMCA, this piece is currently hanging at the NEW Central Madison Library in the beautiful children’s room!

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MMSD Art Standards:

Designs: Describes how different expressive features and principles cause different responses.

Reflecting: Understand that there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.

Interpreting: Understand that different subject matter and ideas communicate meaning.

Understanding: Know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationship to various cultures.


MMSD Social Emotional Standards:

Emotional Development and Personal Emotions: Students will demonstrate a variety of strategies to calm themselves. Students will practice calming strategies and describe their effect on emotions

Emotional Development and Social Skills:  Students will use language to interact with others and communicate effectively in activities and discussions. Students will describe how words, tone and body language are used to communicate with others positively and negatively. Students will work cooperatively with partner and in small groups. Students will identify and practice strategies for resolving conflicts constructively. Student will work cooperatively and productively in a group to accomplish a set goal.



Triangle Fest Art

I missed last year’s Triangle Fest in Madison’s Bayview community last year and this really isn’t something to miss. Dancers and musicians celebrate and share cultures from all over the world!

Participating again this year were some of our very talented Hmong dancers.




Inside the community center was a beautiful art show!










Young at Art 2013

Every other year, MMoCA hosts a beautiful art show called Young at Art. Each art teacher our public schools in Madison choose three pieces of work to be displayed in this show. Today was the opening reception and as you can see, it was well attended!!

IMG_6181Pride was evident on the artists’ faces. This is my very favorite part of of the show!!


IMG_6174 IMG_6183 IMG_6180Plenty of art supporters came out as well. Our new superintendent, Jen Cheatum, came with her husband and beautiful 10 month old little boy.

IMG_6186Here is Mike Hertting, elementary superintendent, talking with art teacher Andy Mayhall.

IMG_6185Jen Cheatum with many of our Madison art teachers.

IMG_6190It was also a pleasure to see school board members Ed Hughes, Arlene Silveira and TJ Mertz at the show as well.

Please go see this show! It will be up until May 19th.

WPA and Arts Advocacy

I haven’t organized any official field trips for art and I’ve been at Randall a few years already. I am changing that this year! Every Randall student will be heading to the Chazen this spring. Each grade level is studying different things this spring based on what they will focus on for their field trip.

The 5th graders study American history in their classroom curriculum so they will be focusing on the Works Progress Administration or WPA art exhibit at the Chazen. They will be studying various WPA artists over the second semester (Romare Bearden was also a WPA artist) but we started this larger theme by creating US Postage Stamps honoring African-American women.

Students started by learning a little about The New Deal created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The New Deal was a series of economic programs that involved presidential orders or laws passed by Congress during the first term of President FDR. It was a response to the Great Depression to create jobs for the unemployed and poor to help the economy recover to normal levels. Some of the gifted and talented students made some connections to issues that have been in the news recently.

Part of the WPA was the Federal Art Project which focused on commissioning artists for public art. Some say over 200,000 separate pieces of art were commissioned from 1935 to 1943. Many famous artists were part of this project including Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollack, John Steuart Curry, Arshile Gorky, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Olds, Loiuse Nevelson, Mark Rothko, Augusta Savage, Grant Wood and many more. As 3rd graders, they learned about John Steuart Curry and his murals right here on the UW campus.

The Chazen has a special exhibition that was installed February 16th and will be up until April 28th honoring these WPA artists.

“The Public Works of Art Project was the first federal program to support the arts. In 1934 the PWAP employed thousands of artists to paint regional, recognizable subjects—from portraits to cityscapes and street scenes to landscapes and rural life. This exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the PWAP, presenting 56 vibrant paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s unparalleled collection.” -Chazen website

Read more about the exhibition from the Wisconsin State Journal and their connection to recent events to funding cuts for the arts.

Exhibit of Depression-era art is illustrative comparison as state cuts public funding for arts

“The money Wisconsin will spend this year on the arts — 15 cents per capita, compared with $5.77 in first-ranked Minnesota — reflects a 67 percent cut in funding to the Wisconsin Arts Board in 2011, when Gov. Scott Walker folded that statewide arts agency into the Department of Tourism. (Wisconsin’s Percent for Art program, in which 0.2 percent of a public building project was devoted to public art, also was dismantled that year.) -WSJ

arts imageWisconsin ranks 46th in arts funding. I’m hoping you’ve been able to see how important the arts are to education through my blog. Please contact your representatives and let them know how important the arts are! Don’t forget to let the school board know as well. They are in charge of art education funding right here in our Madison schools.

I’ve gone on an arts advocacy tangent, I know. But it’s important. Back to the students! Check out the next post for more on their WPA project.

WAEA Southwest Student Art Show

It’s that time again! Time for the WAEA Southwest Student Art Show. It is held at the Hilldale mall. Work goes up on February, Saturday 2nd and will stay up until the closing reception on Sunday, February 10th (12pm-2pm). Go check it out during mall hours! (Monday – Saturday 10am-9pm and Sunday 11a-6pm)

The show is special to me because I was chosen for this show in second grade and that is when I decided to be an art teacher. I am so excited to be choosing my own students to be a part of this show!

The following Randall students were chosen:















3rd Grade Hmong projects

3rd graders first learned the word batik. We looked at a block of wax and discussed how it is melted down to draw with. The a tjanting needle is dipped in the hot wax to be used as the drawing tool. The artist then draws on fabric, not paper.

When the hot wax has dried, the fabric is dipped into dye. When the fabric is dry, the wax is removed and what is left is a beautiful design.

3rd graders first came up with their own Hmong designs using some of the symbols we see in traditional Hmong batik art. Instead of hot wax, they used crayons and instead of dye they used liquid watercolors (with glitter which drew a huge *gasp* from the collective whole that is the 3rd grade).

After they were finished with their own ‘batik’ work, they drew out a family story inspired by the Hmong story cloths. Below is an example by Youa Lor.

Combining two traditional Hmong art techniques into one created some beautiful artwork!

You can see all of these and more at the Children’s Museum throughout the month of November!

Twilight Night and Gallery Opening Night — 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 7
Free admission to the whole museum!

Twilight Art Night offers the opportunity to meet some of the artists whose work is on display, and to learn more about how public art was incorporated into the building.

Enjoy free admission on Twilight Wednesday, the first Wednesday of the month, from 5-8 p.m.