Two elementary school teachers’ desire to display student artwork outside of the classroom has led to a collaborative effort with the Al-Van Humane Society.
Currently, Al-Van has 140 dogs and cats that its staff and volunteers are caring for. They hope the creative expression of the student artwork will help lead to adoptions of some of those pets.
“We have two amazing school groups doing art projects to help promote our animals and their adoptions. St. Basil Catholic School has set up a lovely art display in our lobby that will be on display through Nov. 17,” said Shannon Keirnan, marketing and development manager for Al-Van Humane Society. “Maple Grove Schools is combining writing skills with art skills and displaying portraits and blurbs of our available animals at their parent teacher conferences, Nov. 9-11.”
The idea for combining an art project along with helping Al-Van Humane Society began with Patty McCall, a Bangor Public Schools art teacher who also teaches art to fifth- and sixth-graders at St. Basil Catholic School in South Haven.
“My goal is to get art out in as many public places as possible and to raise awareness about pets needing homes,” McCall said.
The idea of an art project involving a community organization came about earlier this fall when McCall was teaching St. Basil students about various art styles.
“The style of art that they most recently learned about is pop art, which is called pop art because of its frequent use of popular images that everyone is familiar with,” McCall said. “Students each got a picture of an animal from the shelter and made a pop art portrait of that pet.”
Students were first instructed to make pencil drawings and then to practice the art of shading – either with pencil or paint – to make the portraits three-dimensional.
When the humane society’s board members and staff became aware of McCall’s art project they agreed to display the students’ artwork at the shelter. McCall’s idea also inspired Al-Van board member Grace Gilmore to reach out to another teacher, Tera Crichton of Maple Grove Elementary School.
Crichton agreed to have her second-grade students create images of adoptable pets to be accompanied by short essays, written from the viewpoint of the shelter pet.
One student, for instance, created a crayon image of a shelter dog named Oliver. Below the artwork is the student’s essay: “Hi, my name is Oliver. I like to be snuggled. I lived outside for awhile but I …….