Art went beyond the classroom for Tennessee Christian Preparatory School recently as third- through fifth-grade students participated in a sidewalk chalk drawing lesson.
Artist Joe McCullough came to the school to present the art lesson in preparation for Saturday’s “Chalk the Walk” at the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway near Raider Drive.
“It was really exciting for them to see someone who practices art as a profession,” art teacher Laura Trew said.
The art lesson served as a practice day for the students to work out getting their ideas onto the sidewalk.
“We had just finished a unit on the color wheel, and Joe mentioned that they may need to mix colors when they get there to get exactly the color they want,” Trew said.
She said the activity also reinforced lessons
the class had on how to take a drawing and duplicate it on a larger scale.
“Art kind of breaks down into two categories: There is the doing of the art for the artist, something therapeutic about it … it has a positive reinforcing effect. Then there is the exhibition, the final piece as it is displayed. The artist then begins to see the reaction of others — that’s their voice. And that’s what we talked about with the kids, is art is their voice going out into the community,” McCullough said.
What is drawn, the colors used and the technique used all say something about the artist, McCullough said.
Students were also encouraged to trade colors with those around them to get the color they wanted.
McCullough asked the students to draw for the “Chalk the Walk” theme of “Peace, Love and Freedom.”
“Without a lot of contemplation they all immediately reacted to that, so some of the artwork we saw was their interpretation of that theme,” McCullough said.
He encouraged experimentation.
Trew said the students enjoyed the opportunity to “get dirty,” be outside and have a larger space to work with.
“I think it just re-energized their interest in art in general,” Trew said.
The school is planning on participating in the school competition part of Saturday’s event.
Although the opportunity for McCullough to come to school was offered to every school in the county, TCPS was the only school that had a demonstration.
“There is a longer-term goal with this and that is to maintain the priority with children that the arts are important for education,” McCullough said.
Trew said the school had McCullough come for a demonstration last year also. TCPS won the school award for most participation last year.
McCullough said the Greenway event gives parents the chance “to be a child again” and enjoy drawing with sidewalk chalk.
“That creates a strong memory for the children that they had a great time with Mom or Dad,” McCullough said.
The artist also emphasized how art can have a positive impact on other areas of life.
“We also made a connection that when a person engages in an artistic activity, it allows their mind to free flow and create solutions in other areas of their life,” McCullough said.
McCullough said the students also looked at each other’s work for further inspiration for “Chalk the Walk.”
Participation from all age groups is welcome at the event.