Founding Story
02.01.2022

iLEAD AV Debuts Schoolwide Art Gallery, Arts Integration

iLEAD AV Art Gallery

As many schools do, iLEAD AV hosts an annual Winter Production. These are an opportunity for learners, families, and community members to come together and focus on the performing arts. This year, however, Family Engagement Coordinator Holly Vasconez saw an opportunity. Parents, guardians, and families were not only treated to a fantastic performing arts program, but a full-scale art gallery featuring visual arts pieces from learners in grades K- 8. 

Vasconez said she got inspired several weeks before the winter program. She decided to take her own love for the visual arts and share them through classroom instruction with each of the grade levels.

She went into classes starting three weeks for the final show in order to introduce each grade level to a different artist, as well as art medium. For example, 3rd grade learned about Vincent Van Gogh and Starry Night, 6th grade learned about Henri Mattis and The Cut-Outs, and 8th grade learned about Claude Monet and his Landscapes. (See complete list Here)

The entire concept was driven by Vasconez and the raw enthusiasm she shares for learners and art. 

“I just thought it was a great time to integrate visual arts school wide,” Vasconez said. “I really wanted to feature even more talent and diversity at our annual winter program.”

Although she said she has no formal training in art, Vasconez has worked previously as an arts teacher at another school site and has also traveled through Europe studying art and art history. As she embarked on this newest art adventure, Vasconez said she relied on technology to help her.

“I relied on resources such as YouTube and Pinterest,” she said. “I was learning right alongside the learners, while often staying up until two or three in the morning watching videos and researching online.”

She said she was not only excited about the final art gallery and show, but also about the process the learners experienced. She said from day one she reminded the learners that their art would be displayed publicly and challenged them to do their best.

“I was thrilled with their work throughout the process and in the end,” Vasconez said. “Many of the learners had not enjoyed this much art integration before.”

She was committed to displaying every learner’s art. She made sure each piece was framed and properly identified in order to highlight the art as much as possible. 

“We used lights and music to enhance the ambiance,” she said. “We worked to create an interactive art experience for the community.”

Vasconez and the iLEAD AV staff were thrilled with the success of this first all school art gallery, as well as the feedback they received from families and learners alike. 

One parent said that he loved how the learners connected to the masters of the various art genres and how they interpreted the art in their own unique ways.

“The learners created some amazing artwork by some iconic artists of our time,” said Josh M. 

Another parent said she and her entire family thoroughly loved the entire experience. 

“I liked the way it was set up as it reminded me of a museum-art gallery,” said parent Jessica V. “We really enjoyed seeing our own learners’ artwork and the artwork of all their classmates.” 

Another parent said she was truly overwhelmed by all of the creativity.

“The Winter Art Gallery was amazing. All of the learners did an incredible job,” said Ivonne V. “We look forward to more future art events like this.”

The iLEAD AV learners were equally impressed with the event and the work of their peers. 

“I loved doing the artwork and can’t wait to do more,” said 3rd grader Lia B. “I felt like a real artist and was so excited to see the finished product!”

Other learners commented on their own growth and experience as visual arts. 

“When Ms. Holly showed us the painting of Starry Night, I didn’t think I could do it,” said 3rd grader Sheila P. “But once I finished, I really loved the picture and had a great time.”

“I didn’t think I was that great at art, but now I know that I can make some really great art work,” said 4th grader Trinity G. “I am very excited to do more for the next art gallery.”

The staff also took notice. Front office assistant Kelly Uhl said she and her colleagues were overjoyed with all of the learners’ creativity. 

“There were so many vibrant colors and creations,” said Uhl. “It was very obvious that every learner put a lot into every masterpiece.”

Registrar Minerva Alonso concurred with Uhl’s assessment of the event.

“I felt extremely honored to be able to witness all of the beautiful work from our learners,” said Alonso. “Kudos to our learners and Ms. Holly for their amazing work.”

Vasconez and the entire iLEAD AV staff are also interested in future art galleries and visual arts integration. This could include an art gallery each semester, Friday or Saturday workshops, as well as infinite opportunities to work with facilitators to integrate art into daily classroom instruction and projects. 

“Art is one of the best ways to connect with everyone – learners, parents, families. It’s so personal,” said Vasconez. “We now have learners coming up to me and asking to do more art and have another art show. And that was my goal.”

 

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