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New art studio unveiled

Stevenson Ranch Elementary School designs area for students to explore creative projects

Posted: August 31, 2009 5:34 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Jocelyn Wells, 7, was chosen to carry the flag to represent her second-grade class at dedication ceremonies.

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Art lessons for Stevenson Ranch Elementary School students will take on a new look with the opening of the school's new art studio, located on campus.

"Each student possesses many gifts," Principal Candace Fleece said. "It is up to us to help unwrap those gifts to form a connection with the child through art."

Prior to the opening of the studio and dedication on Aug. 20, the school operated art classes out of the main education building as well as portable classrooms.

"The portable classrooms didn't have sinks, so it was difficult for the students to experiment with their art projects," Fleece said.

The idea for the studio was born out of Fleece's dream to give students more exposure to art in school.

"Art may be a subject that excites a child about school and may inspire them to learn. The idea for this studio came out of that goal," Fleece said.

The new studio provides students with high-quality supplies and cleanup areas functional for art exploration.

The studio also provides custom-made desks that lay flat or can adjust to varying easel sizes.

Additional studio features include a large storage space to hold the various art supplies used by students, as well as a tile floor for easy cleanup during messier creative sessions.

Lessons will be taught to students of all grade levels at the school, either under the instruction of their teacher or the "Art Appreciation" group formed out of the Parent-Teacher Association at the school.

"The idea is to give students a set of tools and a bank of experience that helps them grow and develop as artists," said Newhall School District Visual Arts Instructor John Fossa.

Fossa will teach art classes to fourth- and fifth-grade students in the new studio, but his involvement will not stop there.

Fossa will also use the studio to present standard-based lessons in art appreciation to parents and other volunteers at the school.

"For a long time now, parents have volunteered to help expose art to students from kindergarten to sixth grade," Fossa said. "One thing I'm excited about doing is teaching art demonstrations to these parents, so they can then deliver the lesson in the classrooms they visit."

Art standards for each grade level were established by the California Department of Education.

The standards were created to teach a sequential, skill-based program that works on appropriate grade levels.

"First-graders will learn how to mix color; second-graders learn a sense of depth and space in drawing," Fossa said. "By fifth grade, students will be learning how to create their own abstract art pieces.

"We are teaching students to problem-solve and apply their art skills across the curriculum."

Art students are not the only ones who will be learning a thing or two about art in the studio.

The school's teachers can also use the studio's SMART Board and computer to access and show information about artists' lives, painting styles and skills.

Students' art work, as well as famous pieces painted by various artists throughout history, can also be used as examples and teaching tools on the studio's visual presenter.

Kisha Tate, chairwoman of the Stevenson Ranch Education Foundation, appreciates what the studio will do for students.

"This is such a beautiful facility, and I'm sure the students had a lot of ‘oohs' and ‘aahs' wading through it for the first time," Tate said.

The board, which Tate has been part of for the past decade, supports, promotes and encourages funding for technology, science, fitness and art for the school.

"Sitting at one of the drafting tables, you really feel like a professional artist," Tate said. "Each student will get a chance to feel this now, and it is really great to see."

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