Friday, May 11, 2018

A Brilliant Art Class For 1000 People - R2BC

One big Reason 2B Cheerful again this week, DD's art class participated in the Art Class Finale at the Israel Museum.

First some background. It had been one of those days. It was raining and chilly in the morning so I left the house in my winter boots and with an umbrella. By midday it was over 30 degrees under a heavy gray sky. I finish teaching at 12 but I stayed for an extra hour to organize the new English Library. At 1.15 I dragged myself away from a job half done to go to the Income Tax Office. I got off the tram a stop too early and had to treck a kilometre in the heat. When I got there I found that it closes at 1pm. I went into town to buy sandals. Then I made my way to the Israel Museum for DD's event.

Our class found a shady spot for instructions.
The Art Class is a group of 15 children from 4th to 6th Grade who love art. They meet once a week after school for an hour and a half and they have trips to the Israel Museum as well as painting and drawing lessons. They try to choose those with some talent as well but the main thing is supposed to be a passion for art. (DD has both, in my humble Mum opinion.)

The class met us at the Museum. As we walked up towards the sculpture garden, I kept seeing people I knew. It's popular here today, I thought. It wasn't until we got to the top that I realized the scale of the event. Who knew that Art Class is a school-wide initiative including about 45 schools from all over Jerusalem? I certainly didn't. There were 1000 people there! I suddenly heard, "Teacher Rachel! What are you doing here?" It was children from my school. Had I known, I would have stayed to finish the library and come with them straight from school.

We were so proud of ourselves.
I have to admit that among our little group of mothers. none of us were into it. We were hot, wearing winter clothes, after a long day, the end of a long week, etc... We were told that the event was outside (i.e. no chairs and no coffee). And it was due to go on until 7pm. We half joked about bunking off and taking the kids for ice-cream instead. We'd had some warning that it was going to be hands-on art with children and parents. I imagined a sort of stations thing where you go round and do a bit of craft work at various tables. Along with 1000 people. We were so not into it. Reader, we were wrong!

Each school was given a wooden grid, 20 wooden squares, a picture cut into 20 squares, and boxes of pastel oil crayons. Each child and parent pair took one of the squares and had to replicate their bit of the painting onto the wood. At that stage we had no idea what the finished painting looked like, only that they were all paintings from the Israel Museum Collection.

It was so exciting to see it coming together.
DD and I found a bit of wall to work on. We started off arguing of course - "You need to draw a grid on the wood and on the picture." "No you don't, you just draw it!" "Yes you do!" I drew the grids. "You're doing it too small, you need to look at the grids." "You're not helping me!" "OK, I'll help you but we need to just outline the nose and mouth so we know where they go." "No, you don't do that!" "Yes you do!" I drew the outline of the nose and mouth. "You're doing it wrong!" "Ok, I'm not helping you anymore. You do it by yourself." "You need to help me." "But you keep shouting at me!"

Coming together with Moriya
In the end we had only a short time left to finish and DD had only done a fraction of it. She'd spent a lot of time mixing colours as we didn't have the exact shades we needed. So I dived in to help. We worked fast and furious together. I covered vast areas in the base colours and she went over in various other colours to create the different hues. Then DD showed me how to blend the edges together with your finger and also smooth out the crayon lines. We were a team. She ran to her friends to borrow a brown, a white, a darker green.... I smoothed and smudged and filled in the gaps. I am no artist by any means but by the end I was so proud of our painting.

We took it to the main board where the teacher, Moriya, was starting to put it all together. It was magic! And amazing how it really did all fit together. Apart from being a bit wonky around the chin, but that actually added to the authenticity of the project - doncha think?

The more original than the original.
All the 45 finished paintings were brought together for a closing ceremony. We loved doing ours - Sonia Delaunay-Terk's Finnish Woman - but I suddenly wanted to do all of them. I wish I'd been able to photograph more of them to show you as they were all spectacular.

The original.

Our finished painting will be brought to the school and displayed. I'm hoping there will be an exhibition of all the paintings together, at the museum, or maybe a photo-booklet. We would certainly go and see it or buy the book. I'm already looking forward to next year.

On a clear day you can see forever
 Here are some of the others...

I'm joining the R2BC linky over at Michelle's Mummy from the Heart.


  1. What a fantastic idea for an art project!

    1. I know, I want to tell all my art teacher friends about it. Actually I only have a couple of art teacher friends and I tagged them on fb.

  2. How amazing - and wha a great way to ge the kids involved - you guys did an amazing job!

    It must be an artistic kind of week - a friend and I wen to see a very, very popular exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario this week. I'm a member but it was tough even for me to get tickets - I was online for hours! Art "Installations" aren't normally my cup of tea but I have to admit that this was both fascinating & delightful! Here is a link if you'd like to take a look.

    Stay safe!

    1. I will take a look. Art installations aren't my thing either but I trust your recommendation.

  3. I love it, this is so cool. My Miss E would adore being involved with something like this and look how tall DD is now. Mich x

    1. One of the reasons I blogged about it was to get the idea out there - it's such a great activity to do with a lot of people. xxx

  4. Wow, what a wonderful idea, and your finished painting is reminiscent
    of a Picasso or something like that xx

    1. LOL, yes the nature of the exercise made them all a bit Picasso-like.

  5. Oh I love the end result, what a wonderful idea! :)

    1. I know - I'm still on a high every time I think about it.