By Anna Guido
MONTGOMERY - Adults think it's enriching. Students think it's fun. The result? A lesson in fine arts that also exposes students to geography, history, math and science.
At All Saints School - a K-8 Cincinnati Archdiocesan school - art classes have taken a distinctive twist this year with an expanded program funded by the PTO.
Erika Krekeler, 13, left, decorates her piano sculpture made of found objects during the seventh grade art class of teacher Ali Rost at All Saints School.
(Gary Landers photo)
The program, called "Art Works," was purchased from Creative Curricula Inc. in McHenry, Ill. All Saints is the only school in Ohio using it.
"It's not rocket science, but it helps art teachers have a focused curriculum that ties in with the other teachers' curriculum," said parent volunteer Mig Young, who has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Dayton.
Studies have shown that fine arts education dramatically increases early brain development and overall academic performance in children.
The program at All Saints is for students in all grade levels. Art teacher Ali Rost said the comprehensive lessons help "show kids that art is everywhere, not just in art class."
Last week, Rost introduced seventh-graders to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), one of the most prolific and influential artists of the 20th century. Students listened to the music of his time, viewed reproductions of his work and read about his life.
As part of their Picasso study, seventh-graders made musical instruments from items such as paper towel rolls, egg cartons and milk jugs.
The PTO paid $8,000 for the Art Works educational program, which included materials and training. While not inexpensive, it represents a significant improvement over past art programs at the school, according to Kim Navaro, PTO arts and entertainment chairwoman.
"We never had an art room, and we decided as a community that we wanted an art room and a full-time art teacher," Navaro said.
Navaro said Art Works was the only comprehensive program she could find that provided art reproductions, lesson plans and music supplements.
"Most important, it incorporated other curricula areas. That was the wow factor for me," Navaro said.
For information about Art Works, contact Creative Curricula Inc. at (888) 969-4ART, or go to www.artworkskids.com.
Moms started program
Two moms looking for a better art experience for their school-age children is how Art Works was born.
Catherene Tompkins and Lucy Tonyan created the fine arts program in 1996 for Montini Catholic School in McHenry, Ill. Now, more than 70 schools nationwide are using Art Works.
"It's not at all what we had planned for in the beginning," Tompkins said. "We just wanted to create the ultimate art experience for children."
The program was in place at Montini for several years before it went national.
"Our school principal encouraged us to show other schools," Tompkins said. "She was the driving force behind us going out and feeling the water."
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