Looking for 2018-19 ArtSmart information? Visit our new website at
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:

  • Piet Mondrian (available – see below)
  • Helen Frankenthaler (available – see below)
  • Henri Matisse (available – see below)
  • Chinese Ink Drawing (coming in May)

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.

Click here for a short introduction on Marshall Road’s ArtSmart program.

If you are interested, please contact Elizabeth Terry-Humen at

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse



Before getting ready for an ArtSmart presentation, please talk with your student’s teacher about a time that would work with his/her schedule.  Presentations should be completed within one hour from set up to clean up (some may be shorter).  ArtSmart is intended to be an enrichment activity in the classroom that is beneficial to the students and the teachers.  Please make sure that you are presenting at a good time.  In addition, please ask your teacher if you may use a computer in the classroom that can access the PTA website and project to the white board.

How does it work?

Once you have done your “homework” and reviewed the artist’s history (as prepared by a Marshall Road parent), gather your supplies from the PTA closet (found between the gym and Mr. Woodard’s art room) and head up to the classroom.  Set the stage for what the students are about to see.  — Note, it is recommended that you hold off on passing out supplies for the project until the video has been shown — Show the video presentation and recap if you feel it is necessary.  Next discuss the art project that they will be completing.  Show the demonstration video and pass out the supplies for the project.  (For each presentation, there will be background videos that will compliment the artist.  This may provide students will more examples of the artist’s life and works.) After the project is complete and the classroom has been cleaned, please encourage students to take home their art work that day along with the one page take home sheet and encourage them to discuss the artist with their parent!

Thank you for volunteering for ArtSmart!



Project #3 — Henri Matisse

Chitra Sharma has created our third ArtSmart presentation, focusing on Henri Matisse’s Cutouts. For this project, she is has created a Google slide show that you can present to your class by clicking here. Please also read over the Matisse Take Home Sheet that she has prepared for you to send home with your class on they complete the project.

Although Matisse painted his own paper for his cutouts, we will be using simpler supplies for this project including construction paper (focusing on bright contrasting colors), scissors, and glue sticks. All can be found in the ArtSmart closet. Chitra has created a video showing how to do the Matisse cutout project. You can access it here.

Here are a few websites you might access and play while the students are completing their projects:
Henri Matisse: The Cutouts (from London’s Tate Museum):

Footage of Henri Matisse making a cutout (very short)

Henri Matisse A Cut Above the Rest (29 minute film for docents to watch at home — NOT to show in the classroom — to give a deeper look at the artist)

Thank you Chitra for project #3!

****** SignUp Genius Now Available — Please sign out cart at this link ******

Project #2 — Helen Frankenthaler

Our second project has been put together by Emily Miller.  It looks at the life and works of Helen Frankenthaler, a 20th century American expressionist painter.  For their project, students will be using droppers filled with watercolors to show the effect on paper towels as they spread and merge in unusual and beautiful ways.

Please review the video presentation that was created by Emily to be shown to your class.  In addition, you should read over the take home sheet that she has prepared for you to send home with your class once they have completed their project.  Please make a copy of this sheet for every child in the class.

All supplies needed can be found on the cart in the PTA closet.  Please send a note to if you have presented to your class but are finding the supplies to be running low so that we may replenish them for the next class.

Thank you to Emily for creating this special project!


****** SignUp Genius Now Available — Please sign out cart at this link ******

Project #1 — Piet Mondrian

The first project has been put together by Chris Torregrossa.  It looks at the life and works of Piet Mondrian, a 20th century contemporary artist, best known for his very abstract black lines with primary colors paintings.  There are 3 steps to this project:

Step 1: Review the video presentation that was created by Chris to be shown to your class.  In addition, you should read over the take home sheet that she has prepared for you to send home with your class once they have completed their project.  Please make a copy of this sheet for every child in the class.

Step 2: Review the video presentation that demonstrates the art project associated with Piet Mondrian.

Step 3: Gather the supplies needed for this project (found in the PTA closet) which include: paper plates (one for each student plus additional plates to be used to hold paint), yellow, blue, and red paint, baby wipes, newspapers, black electric tape, and paint brushes.

You are now ready to present your first ArtSmart presentation!

When you get to the classroom, set the stage for what the students are about to see.  Let them know that they will be watching a short video created by a Marshall Road parent on Piet Mondrian and then will do an art piece that indicative of his work.

After the Mondrian presentation, feel free to show this video that presents a montage of his works, showing Mondrian’s movement from representational art to abstract art: Piet Mondrian, A Journey Through Modern Art.

In addition, you may wish to play jazz music while the kids work: Boogie Woogie Greats.

A BIG thank you to Chris Torregrossa for starting off our ArtSmart year!


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):