Two of the schools in my weekly rotation of classes are called Lakeridge Elementary. I’ve been checking and double-checking my schedule, (which Lakeridge is it again?!), glued to my GPS, cursing suburban traffic as I try to get around my ever-expanding territory. Both schools are on Lake Washington, but one is in the Mercer Island School District, and the other is in the Renton Schools.
Although they are separated by only a few miles of water, the two schools with the same name are a world apart.
The program in Renton is funded by a grant for schools in need. A diverse group at Lakeridge, these kids were hand-picked as students who would benefit from an after school art program. Most of these children have never had an art class before. They are eager, fascinated by the materials, enchanted by the colors and the possibilities they bring. With this group, every moment is filled with discovery and wonder.
This Artist-in-Residence program is a collaboration with my longtime cohort, Nadine Smith. Through a 13-week series, Nadine and I will be creating TWO permanent art pieces at the school, featuring the students work. One will be a mosaic column at the front entrance to the school, and the other, a collage mural, installed inside the school.
We started the series with warm and cool paintings, and let the students discover the magic of wax resist. In the second class, we introduced the concept of drawing using shapes, and we cut up some of their paintings to make collages. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to explore combining shapes as we learn to draw flowers and plants, architecture, etc.
The students will apply their understanding of shapes when we begin the mosaic portion of the series, scheduled for May and June.
Mercer Island is an affluent Seattle suburb, set in the middle of Lake Washington. I’m teaching an after school book arts series at Lakeridge and Island Park Elementary Schools. Both series are offered through the Kids Co. after school program, and are funded by parents. These kids have all had art instruction before and are comfortable working with art tools and materials in a creative process. In this series, we are making paper maché pop up books, fiber arts books, and 3-d shadow box books.
Now which Lakeridge is it again?