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Elementary Art Education Gets OnLine Pop Art From Warhol

Art education will continue in Ohio County elementary schools next week with some inspiration from Pittsburgh native and pop artist Andy Warhol.

When students in grades 1-5 receive their at-home assignment packets on Monday, included will be a choice of art assignments and an opportunity to create a poster. Elementary art teachers in the school district collaborated to develop the assignments, according to Ellen Culler, art teacher at Elm Grove and Bethlehem elementary schools.

“While this ‘new normal’ is affecting us all, we are all needing to step outside the box and think creatively,” she said. “That’s not a new concept for people in the arts.”

Culler crafted the assignments for all grade 5 students, which involves designing a poster with a positive message centering on topics surrounding the current coronavirus topics.

They can choose from three different ideas:

∫ A poster thanking workers on the front-lines of the crisis, such as health care workers, truckers and baggers. “There are people out there daily because they need to be, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

∫ A poster paying homage to Warhol’s famous painting of a Campbell’s soup can. Students are asked to put a message inside the can explaining how to keep your family safe from the coronavirus.

∫ Or use inspiration from Warhol to create an advertising poster promoting their favorite restaurant who is doing curbside orders.

The theme of each poster should be: “Together, one nation, six feet apart,” according to Culler.

The assignments for the younger grade levels may vary slightly, but probably will involve posters and positive messages, she said.

Those not wanting to do a poster assignment may also choose to watch suggested videos about Warhol.

Submitting the posters for credit is going to pose a challenge, Culler acknowledged. While some will be able to take a photo of their creation and submit it online, other students may not have access to a computer or even a smart-phone camera.

Original plans called for the posters to be dropped off at meal locations, where paper versions of school assignments also are being distributed. But Culler said this plan is presently being re-evaluated.

“Some students will be able to turn them in, while there are others who can’t,” she said. “We don’t want to punish those who can’t.”

The teachers themselves are getting into the artistic mode and creating online videos for their students. The idea for “videos of care” was originated by Elm Grove Elementary teacher Brittany Ward.

Culler recorded one at her kitchen sink, reminding students how important it is to wash their hands properly.

Ward is going to compile the videos into a grouping to send to Elm Grove students.

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