Student art show moves online

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Maureen Wild

The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts’ annual Arts After School Program art show couldn’t be held in person this year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, but instructor Maureen Wild moved the show online so the public could still see it. Photographs off all the artwork created by local kids in kindergarten through sixth grade can be viewed on the “McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts” Facebook page.

Clay dog and cat faces created by students in fourth through sixth grades are just one of the fun projects.

Kindergartners and first graders practiced building and layering in these acrylic paintings, which depict an owl in a tree looking at the moon.

Those in kindergarten through first grade started by making small clay dishes. They traced their hands in clay, then pressed the cutouts into a bowl-shaped form.

For their clay project, the second and third graders formed moon and star luminaries and glazed them in turquoise blue.

The older kids' vivid acrylic paintings showed the horizon over water.

The second and third graders made geometric acrylic paintings, using painter’s tape to form a design.

The final fourth- through sixth-grade project recycled sections of toilet paper tubes to make butterflies and flowers on mat board.

The second and third graders made flower drawings using chalk pastels.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

As COVID-19 has spread, many families confined to their homes have found entertainment and educational resources through cultural institutions, with many museums and galleries offering virtual tours of their collections through websites and social media. If you can’t come to the art or history exhibit, it comes to you.

The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts took a similar approach on April 3, when the annual reception featuring projects created by students in the Arts Afterschool Program had to be cancelled due to gathering restrictions. Program instructor Maureen Wild displayed and photographed all the students’ artwork and showcased it on the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts Facebook page instead.

“We are so grateful for technology that allows you to view the art in the comfort and safety of your own home and not miss out on seeing the wonderful art the children have created,” she said.

Wild has been involved with the Arts Afterschool Program for each of its 10 years, and has led it for the past nine. Dozens of local kids in kindergarten through sixth grade participate each year, attending classes once a week during the winter months.

“One of my favorite things is watching the kids grow up. They start in kindergarten and go all the way to sixth grade,” she shared. “And it’s not just MFL MarMac students. Quite a few home school kids come now too.”

Wild rotates program themes each year. This time, it was “Methods and Mediums.”

“That gives them an opportunity to try out some different projects,” she noted.

Each age group (K-1, 2-3 and 4-6) completed three pieces of art before the remaining March classes were cancelled.

“I missed saying goodbye to them,” Wild said. “We didn’t know our last class was going to be our last class.”

Those in kindergarten through first grade started by making small clay dishes. They traced their hands in clay, then pressed the cutouts into a bowl-shaped form. The kids also practiced building and layering with an acrylic painting that depicted an owl in a tree looking at the moon. Using markers, they hand colored intricate butterflies.

For their clay project, the second and third graders formed moon and star luminaries and glazed them in turquoise blue. They also created geometric acrylic paintings, using painter’s tape to create a design, and made flower drawings using chalk pastels.

The older kids used clay to create fun cat and dog faces, and their vivid acrylic paintings showed the horizon over water. The final project recycled sections of toilet paper tubes to make butterflies and flowers on mat board.

Wild enjoys seeing the students have fun with art. It’s always interesting to see what inspires them.

This year was the first time The Left Bank Shop and Gallery in McGregor, where classes are held, was open through the winter. 

“So this was the first time they came in and saw it all set up,” Wild noted. “It was interesting how fascinated they were, seeing the art displayed. It made them realize how special their art is too.”

That’s why having the art show—whether in person or online—and recognizing the students’ accomplishments is so important, she said.

“Sometimes people don’t realize all the work that’s gone into it. The kids are doing things they’ve never done before,” Wild added. “I’m impressed with the art they did. I still wanted to be able to show how great their art was.”

To view the entire Arts Afterschool Art Show, visit the “McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts” Facebook page.

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