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By May Woo, Education & Programs Getty Intern

Last year, P.S. ARTS introduced a new element to our classroom programs – a unifying theme to guide the material taught in all of our schools.  The theme for 2012-2013, Tree of Life: Roots and Branches, encouraged students to focus on their cultural, familial, and community “roots”; this year, we hope students will extend and build on these foundations, and raise their eyes towards the sky instead – to reach above and beyond and realize their dreams.  We are excited to announce that the theme for the 2013-2014 school year will be Exploring Our Dreams, Expanding Our Universe.

What images come to mind when you hear the words “dream” and “universe”?  Personally, I imagine the vastness of outer space, the twinkling stars that dot the sky (or maybe not so much, in LA!), and galaxies that seem so foreign and mysterious but are slowly being understood. I find that the infinite nature of outer space not only represents the magical unknown, but also how far we’ve come in discovering these places.  With this year’s theme, we hope to encourage exploration and discovery of many sorts – exploration of our world and the universe around us, exploration of our infinite imagination, and exploration of our dreams and aspirations.

To tie into our theme, we have been busy researching masterworks, films, musical scores, and artists that have been inspired by outer space or reflect imagery of dreams and aspirations. We chose some of our favorites, and created art projects based on these pieces.  These projects, called P.S. ARTS To Go! projects, will be available on our website and distributed at our Family Night events starting in September.

The P.S. ARTS To Go! Projects are visual art activities designed for students and families to try at home, and are meant to encourage kids to make art outside the classroom.  Each activity is inspired by a famous masterwork and artist, and therefore opens the door to connections in art history and other academic subject areas.  In our brief project instructions, we hope to spark interest in topics other than the project at hand. Whether it’s through the process of art making, the artist biography, or the social and historical background of a piece, there are many opportunities to tie an art project to a lesson in history, science, math, and language arts!

One of the To Go! Projects, for example, is a paper marbling activity inspired by a traditional Turkish form of art. Not only will students create marbled paper and learn about this form of printmaking, but this project will also open their eyes to Turkish culture and geography, as well as the chemical properties that make paper marbling possible.  This lesson even ties into our celestial theme, as Jupiter’s surface appears to have a marbled effect!

Be sure to check out the new To Go! Projects as well as these videos I helped create to learn how you can do some of these projects at home with your family!



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