On Friday, February 11, The Wilson School held its first annual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Night - The Art of Science.
The Wilson School families participated in science and art activities, including Wilson’s first ever Time Capsule. Students came with a Time Capsule worksheet, which included a profile and a record of life in 2017. The Time Capsule will be opened in eight years, when current pre-kindergarten students will be in sixth grade.
Senior Kindergarten hosted favorite science experiments including alka rockets, moon base building, telescope viewing and space helmet designs. Wilson parent Phil Skemer hosted an earthquake simulation, and other visitors included Bloxels Video Game Design and robotics hosted by the Webster Groves High School and DeSmet Jesuit High School teams.
Art projects included popsicle stick harmonicas and marble shake painting. Students created personal handprints to support this year’s Youth Uplift Challenge. With each handprint, the Youth Uplift Challenge will contribute $1.90 for the efforts. The funds support programming in Indonesia and Nicaragua.
This year’s visiting artist, Central Print demonstrated printmaking on a press, discussed letterpress and its history and facilitated a printmaking activity for Wilson families.
Science specialist Mr. Taylor hopes that The Art of Science event inspired students to become involved in science and to explore new ideas. He looks forward to Wilson students investigating new topics for this year’s science fair.
This winter, Central Print brought their mission of promoting the art of printmaking to Wilson for the Visiting Artist Program. Their medium inspired the art curriculum for the year. Prior to the visiting artist week, teachers Diane Signor and Mary Beth Tipton provided the students with a foundational overview of printmaking. Throughout the year, they will feature five prominent printmaking artists and will continue creating printmaking pieces.
During the visiting artist week, Marie Oberkirsch, the executive director of the non-profit, brought a clamshell and a flatbed vintage portable press, both of which date back nearly a century.
Each grade participated in hands-on printmaking and discussed the art form. The conversations included topics such as the mechanics of printmaking and press operation, the role of automation and the impact of letterpress on how the world communicates. The experience proved unique and fascinating for all students.
Throughout the visiting artist week, pre-kindergarten through first grade students focused on shapes and colors, printing with wood shapes carved by the artists, as well as block numbers and letters. They explored primary and secondary colors. Carrie Keasler, a Central Print educator who specializes in printmaking and bookmaking, helped the students focus on literacy and speech through printed type.
Second, fifth and sixth grade students worked with printmaker Julie Davis to focus on the principles of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). They used the antique machines to make postcards and other images. As a part of the creative process, the classes investigated the technical issues such as type height and font size, reversal, opacity and transparency in ink.
“The thoughtful process of the handset lettering surprised everyone,” said Mrs. Tipton. “For every line printed, you would have to pick up every letter and place it down backward.”
Making a site visit to Central Print, third and fourth grade students rotated through three stations. After learning about the history of the print press and watching a press process demonstration, the students then printed their own postcards using wooden blocks on a clamshell press. Following, Central Print held an open house for all students and their families to tour the studio.
“For kids with a mechanical mind and those who love to see how things work, this was a very exciting week,” said Mrs. Tipton. “That aspect of the art really motivated them.”
The visiting artist experience culminates with Wilson’s young artists exhibiting their work during the Family Art of Science Night. Central Print will host a station for students and parents to create together.
Thank you to the Excellence Program for allowing Central Print to enrich the lives of Wilson students. Said Ms. Signor, “This was something new for the children that they would not have learned without the visiting artist program.”
The Wilson School hosted its first Family Art Event on Saturday, February 27. The theme for the event was "Celebrating Community, Compassion and Collaboration."
Special guests included Doodlestones creator Bryan Payne and author Carol S. Klein who read her book “Painting for Peace in Ferguson” in the Innovation Room while the pages were projected on the school's unique immersion wall, comprised of 18 flat screens.
Wilson students helped Syrian refugees by making pinwheels. For each finished pinwheel, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $2 to the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classroom Program benefiting Syrian youth.
Cbabi Bayoc, a painter specializing in depicting African American fathers with their children, worked on a piece in progress. Bayoc served as this year's Wilson School visiting artist. During his week with the students, they explored his painting technique using acrylic paints. Pre-kindergarten through first grade students created images of birds, while second through sixth grade students painted portraits. All the work completed with Bayoc was on display for the Family Art Event.
Thank you to art teachers Diane Signor and Mary Beth Tipton for organizing the event.
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