Penny & I got together yesterday to formalize our “plan” for teaching in the 4th (or maybe 3rd) grade classroom again this year. She brought a huge box of the MOST delicious grapes I have ever eaten which she “found” in her backyard while collecting apples to bring over to me. Needless to say I spent some time cleaning fruit and preserving, but that’s another story.
Our “plan” so far involves picking a class and teacher willing to let us in and work with the kids. We have several in mind since we understand our last year’s teacher won’t be teaching this year. We may try for a 3rd grade room since they only have 20 per class and in the current situation at this school ( no art room, materials, or convenient space for art) fewer kids might be better. I really liked the 4th graders last year though..we’ll just have to see what works out. We don’t anticipate being able to start until October since Sept. is kind of chaotic just settling in with the start of the school year and all. We have 8 months and would like to focus on one concept per month, building a knowledge base and exposing them to a number of different mediums throughout the year. We’ll definitely use some of the same projects we did last year that were successful (definitely some shibori! no need to reinvent the wheel and this stuff takes time to plan- AND we’re not getting paid for this) Always about the $ isn’t it? When we attended the Arts TuneUp, we were advised to stop doing this as the schools were getting something without paying for it and they’d get used to the idea and like it. Oh well, can’t please everyone. The reality is that no one really pays ANY attention to what we’re doing except that one class of kids so I don’t think we’re having any impact on the “system” and its funding of art in the schools.
Doing a little research I have found a couple of interesting sites we will take advantage of and you might too. If you or any company you know, has supplies you want to donate perhaps this site might help. I’m not sure how much it gets used but it’s a good idea. We saw something in our area we might be able to use and will call to see if it’s still available. You can also post your needs and it’s organized by area (CA only I think).
In addition, I found a List of Hazardous Art and Craft Materials that Can Not be Purchased for Use in Grades K- 6 (May 2007) on the ca.gov site.
Speaking of art safety issues the DYERSlist posted this link wihich is a resource list of places to find info on art material safety and more. Just FYI.
The best health insurance we can get is in doing our best to stay fit and healthy on our own which as an artist means using standards and practices that limit our exposure to toxic materials and handling them safely.