Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Speak up and Advocate for the Arts - It Works!

Every now and then you must put your fears aside and stand up for what you believe in. Our elementary art programs were, once again on the chopping block - nothing new, been there done that.  After all, after 40 plus years of art teaching, I have witnessed the highs and the lows of the strength of support for our arts programs in Duval County Public Schools. 
So the pendulum swings once again as our district has the task to cut over 2 million from our overall budget.  The target: the arts programs - but not without an outcry from teachers, parents and students. 
I mustered up all the courage I could and, on behalf of all arts educators, stood before the Duval County School Board and spoke in defense of our music and art programs.  



Here is what I had to say:

"Hello, my name is Terry Woodlief, art teacher at Central Riverside Elementary School. I am here today along with many of my arts education colleagues, to speak up for our programs.

Six years ago, you voted to place a full-time art and music teacher and every elementary school. This allows us to deliver quality art instruction, going deeper into the art content and laying the foundation at the elementary level for a quality art education.

This year there were 2,800 entries into the Scholastic Art awards created by middle and high school students from North Florida, 33 were the highest gold and silver awards. In 2018 regional student winners earned $9.2 million in college scholarships.

All of this has to start somewhere - and that’s in the elementary art classroom.

Students cheer when it’s time to go to art and music classes. It is an opportunity for many who struggle with their academics to shine in their artistic abilities.

I know young girl who struggled with math and reading and felt like she was failing in an academic world. When her art teacher passed out posters from a art contest, hers had a big blue ribbon on it - she was shocked that she was good at something! She took this new found confidence and applied it to her academics resulting in a turning point from that day forward. Art changed her life. I know all about this because that little girl was me. Since then, I have committed to make that kind of difference in my students lives using Art as a vehicle for their success.

Similar stories can be told by many of my colleagues who have the same passion for inspiring our future leaders. Please don’t take away the opportunities we have for molding the Leonardo da Vinci’s , the Shakespeare’s, and the Beethoven’s of tomorrow.

I’ve said all of this to say: these proposed cuts will take my students from weekly art classes to having art class only twice a month. Please, don’t compromise our opportunity to educate the whole child."


Yep, that's what I said and you know what?  Somebody was listening.  They listened to me, my colleague Shaun Bennett (Music Teacher) and many parents who came forward that night as well as the following two school board meetings. 
Adjustments were made and funds were found to cover the deficit - without compromising our arts programs!
A happy ending - not likely as now we must appeal to our state legislators so this doesn't happen again.  Time to speak up again but this time in Tallahassee.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

CRES ArtWalk 2018

Another successful student exhibit at Central Riverside Elementary School! EVERY student at CRES had at least one piece of artwork with a total number of  over 500 paintings, collages and drawings.   Please enjoy the video below that shows the entire exhibit.  


                

CRES Legacy Project: 5th Grade Self Portrait Tiles

Another year comes to an end and, for the third year, Central Riverside 5th graders leave their mark on their school by creating a self portrait tile.  Each creation was glazed, fired and permanently installed on the interior walls of our school.  This legacy project allows them to leave a part of themselves at their elementary alma mater and perhaps one day they might return and relive the wonderful memories they had while a student at Central Riverside Elementary School.






Saturday, May 5, 2018

VSA at the Cummer Museum


Such an heartwarming experience, taking my DHH and ESE students to The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens this week for the annual VSA Festival.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is home to the Jacksonville affiliate of VSA, an international organization that provides opportunities in the arts for individuals with disabilities. The annual VSA Festival, which takes place in the spring of each year, invites Jacksonville-area students with disabilities to visit the Cummer Museum for a chance to experience art through all of their senses. Over the course of four days, nearly 1,800 children, 700 teachers and chaperones, and 1,300 volunteers fill the Museum to engage in art viewing in the galleries, movement, music in the gardens, and art-making activities throughout the entire Museum. The event allows each student to participate in the creative process and to demonstrate their own artistic abilities. 








Tuesday, March 20, 2018

CRES Students Shine in Local District and State Level Exhibits

Congratulations to the outstanding art students who tirelessly create beautiful masterpieces in art classes at CRES!

The images below are those of outstanding work selected for the local, district-wide Elementary Library Shows, The Best of Elementary Exhibits and Celebration of the Arts.  They will also be featured in the state level exhibit held in October at the Florida Art Education Association Digital Exhibit in St. Petersburg, FL. We are so proud of our Central Riverside artists!
Sophia
Arianna


Emmanual


Arianna

Zion, Anastasia, Lily & 

Lolita
Sophia


Chinese Brush Painting- Bamboo for CRES Students

Students at Central Riverside learned painting techniques used by student artists on the other side of the world - China.  After viewing "Bamboo for Beginners," they they steadied their hands and practiced simple, elongated strokes.  Once they were happy with their brushstrokes they began to paint beautiful stalks of bamboo mush like the children in China must do in their art classes.





Chihuly Sculptures!



Students at Central Riverside Elementary learned about the world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  After seeing him in action in a video clip, they were excited to create their own version of a sculpture inspired by the artist. 


Instead of using hot, melted glass, my students used transparencies painted with acrylic paint.   

Using their knowledge of organic shapes, they cut random free form shapes in a elongated orientation. 

Next, they punched a hole in each end and threaded them onto dowel rods previously inserted vertically into a block of wood which served as a base. 



After each student artist was satisfied with their sculpture, they topped off the dowel rod with a wooden bead.