Carnegie volunteers put parents in picture to fill art gap in Valley schools


With the absence of formal art programs in public elementary schools, Carnegie Picture Lab is a volunteer-run organization that provides art lessons to children in the Walla Walla Valley.

The Lab’s mission statement is “to nourish creativity by supporting and enhancing art education for elementary school children in the Walla Walla Valley.”

That translates into Lab volunteers providing lessons in art and art history as well as putting on Art Family Fun Nights for each school in Walla Walla and College Place and field trips to the Walla Walla Foundry.

Carnegie Picture Lab, Walla Walla Foundry and world-renown glass artist Dale Chihuly’s organizations — Chihuly Garden and Glass and Chihuly Studio — have partnered to present Art Family Fun Nights from January to May 2013.

The Blue Mountain Action Council’s AmeriCorps team supports the Art Family Fun Night events in large part.

This makes it possible for the parents to participate in the event with their children and do the activities, instead of having to just chaperone.

The idea for these family nights originated from the Title I program, which provides extra educational assistance beyond the regular classroom to at-risk youth.

The nights have expanded into P.L.A.Y. (Picture Lab Art & You) to include all students in the Walla Walla Valley and provide Art Family Fun Nights for every family willing to participate.

This year, Chihuly’s organizations have donated materials to help make events a success.

The materials include books for all Picture Lab elementary school children, posters, puzzles, T-shirts and pieces of Chihuly glass for children.

The Carnegie Picture Lab and volunteers will teach a variety of art projects at elementary schools.

Following is an example of a do-it-yourself art project from the Chihuly Art Kit, called “Sea Creature Creation.” The goal is to “create a picture of an unusual, exotic, completely made-up ocean animal.

Supplies needed:

• Newspaper to cover your work surface

• A big piece of paper

• Pieces of fruits or vegetables (apples, oranges, potatoes)

• Paint (tempera is best)

• Empty plastic containers

Steps to take:

Step 1: Lay down your newspaper

Step 2: Cut each piece of fruit or vegetable so that there is one flat side. You will use this side like a stamp.

Step 3: Once you have a collection of stamp shapes, put several colors of paint into the empty plastic containers.

Step 4: Dip the stamps into the paint.

Step 5: Using the colors and your stamps, try to create something that looks as if it might live deep in the ocean or on a different planet.

Use your imagination. What would you name your creature? Where does it live?

More fun projects like this are available at Family Fun Night. Check with your PTA or Home and School Program to find out when Carnegie Picture Lab volunteers will be coming to your school, and bring the whole family.

Ryland Hutchinson is an AmeriCorps Carnegie Art Lab volunteer.


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