Art Smart Exhibition 2013

ArtSmart is a Marshall Road PTA-sponsored program that utilizes parent volunteers to introduce MRES students to various artists and their artwork as an enrichment and extension of everyday classroom learning. The program provides a creative opportunity, as students create works of their own inspired by an artist’s style. ArtSmart typically introduces students to four different artists and their works throughout each school year, with classroom presentations and art creation sessions held from October to June.

The 4 artists/styles for the 2017-18 school year include:

* Henri Matisse
* Helen Frankenthaler
* Piet Mondrian
* Chinese Ink Drawing 

Volunteers research artists and come up with a project for the students to create (within each artist, projects vary in difficulty so that they are grade appropriate).  Once ready, presentations, project instructions, and a signup link for supplies will be posted on-line for individual classroom docents to present to their child’s class.

We are still looking for 2 more parent volunteers to help research Helen Frankenthaler and Chinese Ink Drawings.  If you are interested, please contact Elizabeth Terry-Humen at

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse



Project #1 — Marc Chagall

The first project will look at the life and work of Russian surrealist artist Marc Chagall. We discovered a YouTube video that an art teacher named Robyn Murphy in Alaska created that we feel captures his life and work beautifully. As a result, we felt there was no need to recreate the so-called “wheel” in a presentation to you. In this video, the teacher dresses as Chagall and describes his life through maps, photos and artwork. You can use the video as a teaching tool for yourself and then go “off script” when presenting to your class OR you can play the video (beginning at time marker 1:14 and ending at 14:24) for your class. Feel free, of course, to skip through parts of the presentation to make it shorter for your class if you think their attention span is shorter than the 13 minutes. For the younger classes, you may prefer to give a short verbal background to your students and then play the video of the Marc Chagall book, it is about 7 1/2 minutes long (see below).

After you present Marc Chagall to your students, they will create a piece of artwork that pays homage to his Over the Village piece. The project, including materials needed, is also included online for you to look at and has step-by-step instructions for you to give to your students. Materials can be found in the PTA closet on the ArtSmart cart.

All classes will use one 12×16 piece of black construction paper. K-2 may choose to use the big crayons located in the PTA closet. Grades 3-6 should use the oil pastels. Please note that newspaper should be brought from your home to the classroom and laid down on the tables. Also, please plan to bring wipes in the event that the oil pastels should find their way onto the kids and/or desks. When students are finished with their projects, they are to take them home that day.

The presentation for Marc Chagall can be found at:

The book, Dreamer From the Village – The Story of Marc Chagall, by Michelle Markel, can be found in its entirety at: (7:45 — shows the book being read)

or (7:40 — uses the pictures from the book but doesn’t show words)

If you would like to play a background slideshow of Chagall’s artwork while the students are working, you can click on this video:

The lesson plan for the Marc Chagall project can be downloaded here.

Project #2 — Aboriginal Art

The second project will look at Australian Aboriginal dot art “Dreamings” (paintings of totemic animals). Chitra Sharma has lent her artistic knowledge and talent to create a 7 minute presentation video that you can watch, and then choose to play for your class, or present the project yourself. Also, we’ve included a YouTube video to help you, as an adult, to better understand this art style, along with a link with examples of dot art Dreamings that you can share with students. We’ve included two videos with examples of artwork that can be played as a background visual with traditional music while the students create their art work.

After you present Dreamings to your students, they will create a piece of artwork in the style of dot art. Originally, Aboriginal artists used sticks on tree bark; we will be using Q-tips to paint onto paper. Chitra has created another video designed for the docent to watch that demonstrates the project in steps, and shows what the finished art may look like. (Timing-wise, it is not necessarily designed for the kids to watch during class, but that is your call.)

As with the first project, materials can be found in the PTA closet on the ArtSmart cart. For this project, students will be using one 12×16 piece of brown construction paper. All classes will be using paint — feel free to narrow the selection down to 3-4 colors. We gauged about 5 Q-Tips per student, and they can use both ends of the Q-Tip. They last longer if they are not pressed down too hard on the paper.

Please note that the volunteer docent should bring old newspapers from their home to the classroom to lay down on the tables. Also, please plan to bring wipes (they are included on the ArtSmart cart) in the event that paint should find its way onto the kids and/or desks. (You might want to give parents of younger students a heads up about the date of the presentation so that they may have their kids wear older clothes that day!) When the students are finished with their projects, they are free to take them home that day with them, if dry.

If you decide to use paper plates for the paint, please dispose of them after the project (there are garbage bags on the bottom of the cart). If you’d rather use plastic trays, please wash them and return them to the cart.

The presentation for Aboriginal Art can be found at:

Chitra’s demonstration of the project (aka the lesson plan) for docents to view:

Web site with great images of Dreamtime Dot Art to show students:

Additional adult information on the topic can be found here:

YouTube presentation of various aboriginal art set to traditional music (you can play as background while the students are painting):