Virtual Art Gallery

Here is the link to my final project, a virtual art gallery to showcase and celebrate all of the kids’ amazing artwork from throughout the summer!

Connecting Kids with Art Virtual Gallery: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1vixclCKkzB5ZAz1bAcKw6zMeaCeIdqUuKarrcLwVIuU/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you again to everyone involved along the way including Ms. Rogers and the Jack Linger Fund. It has been a great experience!

Reflections

Hello everyone! This week I finished my final virtual art class. I can’t believe it’s over, but I’m so proud of everything I and the kids have done. This was such a fun process, and I loved getting to know the kids and sharing art with them since art is so important to me. 

I’m really happy that everything came together in the end because there were so many different components and challenges involved. At the beginning, this was such an uncertain process. Figuring out the best people to reach out to about my program to recruit kids was my biggest challenge, and organizing the logistics was also quite challenging. I think I have better learned how to organize and plan out details because of this experience. Also, throughout the summer, I think I have improved my virtual communication skills from reaching out to and pitching my program idea to strangers over email to leading the weekly classes over video calls. Because of this, I also now know how to work Zoom like a pro! 

I hoped that this program would give the kids something meaningful to work on and look forward to right now since all of their other programs were canceled this summer. I think it did just that. One of the most exciting things about this was also watching the kids get excited about the projects and seeing the families work together. Watching the kids smile and laugh when they tried out a new art material for the first time to reading the parents’ emails to me saying how much their kid looks forward to class feels so rewarding and makes it all worth it. 

Thank you for following along with my journey this summer! And special thanks to the Jack Linger Independent Study Fund, which helped make this possible. It has been super fun, but I still plan on continuing virtual classes with the special education program at McDougle Middle School once school starts.

Final Class!

I can’t believe it’s already over! This week, I finished my final virtual art class. 

We decorated t-shirts by dunking them in shaving cream mixed with colorful dye patterns (kind of like tie dye), which was super fun even though it was also VERY messy. The kids loved using the shaving cream because of the fluffy texture and the smell, and even once they decorated their shirts, many still enjoyed playing with it. Since this project was very carefree and messy, lots of the families involved as well, so it was really cool to watch everyone enjoy creating art together.

Me showing the kids my colorful shaving cream, about to dunk my t-shirt

This post is shorter than usual, but I just wanted to give a quick update on this week’s class. I will be posting my final reflections on this entire summer project soon!

Class 4

Hello everyone! In this week’s art class, the kids and I made rain-sticks out of paper towel tubes filled with rocks and quinoa, and we decorated them using colorful tapes, stickers, and markers. Since the rain-sticks make really nice sounds when you shake them, I think that the kids enjoyed the sensory component of this project.

In the planning stages of this summer art program, I did a lot of research on special needs education and art for kids with special needs to learn about the kinds of activities that would be most accessible and enjoyable for everyone. From this research, I learned that doing projects that work multiple senses are much more engaging and beneficial for the kids’ creativity. So, for each of the projects, I really tried to incorporate the different senses from sound with the rain-sticks, touch with the fluffy clay for the pinch pots, and smell with the shaving cream that will be used in my next project. This incorporation of sensory activating elements are what I think has improved my projects significantly and made the kids feel much more connected to their art compared to the projects I did during the school year at McDougle. Those projects were still good, especially since at the time I could be there in person to help the kids, but the revisions I have made to them over the summer have made them much more successful!

Next week, I will be updating you on the final project! I can’t believe its almost over already, and I am truly amazed by how much I’ve been able to accomplish!

Class 3

This past week, I completed my 3rd virtual art class. I can’t believe I’m already halfway through them! 

This week we worked on a stamping project using finger paints with a variety of objects, such as toy cars, animals, and sponges, instead of paint brushes. This was really fun because there were absolutely no rules: everyone approached it however they wanted and just had fun playing with the paints and different toy stamps. One of the kids even made up a story as he was painting; since he was painting with an anteater and a toy car, he described how his anteater was driving across the ocean to see his friend lion on a deserted island. 

Not everyone could make it to the live class, but what was really exciting to see was that most of the kids who couldn’t make it still worked on their projects in their own time and sent me pictures afterwards. I’m really happy to see that the families are still carving out time to create art together.

Check out the “Artwork Collection” page to see more of the kids’ art, and look out for another update next week on project 4!

Class 2

 Hello everyone! This past week, I did my second virtual project with the kids. It was great to see them again, and even though I knew I didn’t need to worry, I was also thrilled that they loved it enough to come back. This week, we worked on a self-portrait project by gluing colorful tissue paper onto a template I made. This was one of the projects that I did before with the kids at McDougle during the school year, so I knew already  that this one was a hit. 

One thing that I love about this project is seeing all of the unique approaches that the kids took when creating their face. Even though the project itself seems pretty structured since it is essentially coloring in a template using tissue paper, all of the kids still took it in their own direction, made it their own, and decorated it in really unique, creative ways. Seeing the kids’ creativity and ideas in action was what made this project really great. Especially when their parents sent me photos of the finished pieces at the end, it was a really exciting surprise!


Thank you for checking in with me, and I will continue to update you with my progress after class 3! This week I also created a new page called “Artwork Collection” to display all of the kids’ work in one place, so feel free to check that out as well! 

First Class

On Thursday I had my first virtual art class! It was so cool to see all of the kids’ faces and meet them for the first time. 

My biggest fear was honestly that the kids would be camera shy, but right away one kid, Julian, started sharing his favorite colors with everyone, and I felt much more at ease. Then, two of the girls actually knew each other from school and were so excited to see each other for the first time after so long. 

All of the kids seemed very excited to make some art too. We made colorful pinch pots for little air plants, and the kids loved playing with the clay. Many of the parents even emailed me immediately after the class asking where they could get more.

My goal with this class was to give kids with special needs a creative outlet especially during a time when summer programs have been cancelled and everyone is cooped up at home. And it did. But what was really cool and kind of surprising to see was how this art project brought families together; parents carved out time in their day to spend with their kids and kids, parents, and siblings all got together to create art, which is everything I could have hoped for.  

Two of the kids’ lovely pinch-pot creations

Ready to Go!

Hello! I hope everyone has had a nice start to the week. I just wanted to give an update on my progress so far since everything is really coming together and my program will be beginning very soon!

For the past two weeks I have been working hard to recruit kids to participate in my art program. I emailed individuals I know who have kids with special needs, reached out to Special Olympics, a speech therapist at Chapel Hill High School, a teacher I worked with at McDougle Middle School, and a few other organizations I could think of. Although I struggled at first to get families on board, all of a sudden over the weekend I heard from 6 families all at once. So now I have 9 local kids participating in all!

So many supplies!!!

I have also been ordering all of the supplies and putting together art kits for the kids to complete the 5 different projects I have planned. My hallway and bathroom are a complete mess right now with art supplies everywhere, but I will be delivering all of the supplies this week, and will then finally be ready to officially start my classes! My first virtual class will be on Thursday, and we will be making colorful pinch pots to hold some really cute little air plants. I am pretty nervous right now about doing this virtually, but hopefully everything will go smoothly!

I will definitely be giving an update later this week about how the class goes!

Welcome!

My McDougle Art Class

Hello and welcome to my blog! 

Because creating art has always been such an important part of my life, a way to express myself and relieve stress, I wanted to share it with others who usually don’t have an opportunity to do it. So I created this independent study, “Connecting Kids with Art,” and here, you can follow all of my progress.

This project really began last year when I created and taught a “unified art class” where kids with special needs and worked on art projects with a buddy once a week at McDougle Middle School. However, because summer programs this year have been mostly cancelled due to Covid-19, many kids are now stuck at home without a way to pass the time, relieve stress and possibly express themselves. This is why I wanted to figure out a way to continue my program during the summer because even though school is over, kids’ need for creativity (and a way to occupy the time) is not. So I will be virtually leading art classes for kids with special needs this summer by creating fun art projects and providing them with all of the supplies and virtual instruction.

Thank you, and I hope that you enjoy following along with me on my journey!