May 07, 2024

Imaginative art exhibit showcases need for art education

News and Online Editor

A glow-in-the-dark underwater wonderland greeted parents at one Emporia elementary school this week, and art teacher Danielle Albert is hoping it emphasizes the need for art education across the district.

Using black lights and neon paints, Albert completely transformed her classroom at Walnut Elementary School for a special art exhibit during parent teacher conferences.

"We made lots of things with neon — neon paints, neon oil pastels, neon paper and even neon yarn — to make our all of projects," she said. "I ordered a lot of extra neon supplies to make our projects glow under the black lights."

Albert ordered black floodlights that she strategically placed inside of the classroom to bring a lot of light into the room. But the key, she said, was making sure the room was otherwise dark.

"My kindergarteners stamped all of those big papers with bubbles to blackout the lights in the windows so it would be dark in here during the show," she said.

Each grade level at Walnut had a part to play in the exhibit, Albert said, which also had them learning about different bioluminescent marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish, and sharks.

But the project was only possible because Albert, who teaches art to about 1,500 students at five of USD 253's elementary schools, has a dedicated classroom at Walnut Elementary School this year.

"I chose to have a show at Walnut this year because I had a classroom for the first time here from the start of the school year," she said. "It takes a lot of storage and a lot of time to make these projects, so I actually had space where I could keep everything and make all of these 3D things."

Albert said each student made at least two projects — one in 2D and one in 3D. She also collaborated with Walnut's STREAM teacher Becca Anderson for some components as well to discuss the science behind bioluminescent properties.

Albert said she felt this was a good example of the importance of art education as part of the regular elementary school curriculum.

"I feel like kids, now more than ever, need that creative outlet," Albert said. "They need a space and a time where they can put their ideas down on paper, where it doesn't always need to be put into words. Art has been a communication tool since the beginning of time."

Art, she added, is a great way for children to express themselves and tell their stories. But it's challenging to offer that opportunity, since there aren't many days where children get to experience an art class.

"Right now our elementary kids only get art every other week at the most, and when we have days off from school it ends up being less than that," Albert said. "It's very, very little art in elementary schools at this time."

Albert said she's pushing for the district to hire more art teachers so that children are able to have that opportunity on a more regular basis.

"I have all of these ideas of things that I want to do," she said. "I go to a different building each day of the week, so it kind of makes it tough because art is one of those things that is so personal and you want those kids to relate to you and share those ideas. It makes it hard when you don't get to see those kids very often."

Those wishing to advocate for the need for art education opportunities are urged to reach out to USD 253 Board of Education members or district administrators.

"Right now our elementary kids only get art every other week at the most, and when we have days off from school it ends up being less than that."

Danielle Albert

USD 253 art teacher

News and Online Editor

Log In

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd,racist or sexually-oriented language.PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.Don't Threaten. Threats of harming anotherperson will not be tolerated.Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyoneor anything.Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ismthat is degrading to another person.Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link oneach comment to let us know of abusive posts.Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitnessaccounts, the history behind an article.

2023 Emporia Gazette's Reader's Choice Awards are celebrated in this special section.

Special section highlighting health in Emporia and our area.

2022 Edition of Emporia Living Magazine.

Latest Edition of Sallie Magazine.

Keep it Clean.PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.Don't Threaten.Be Truthful.Be Nice.Be Proactive.Share with Us.