Art teachers make special, virtual return for this year’s Marfa Studio of Arts school program

MARFA — This year at Marfa Elementary School, the Marfa Studio of Arts is rising to the challenge of teaching art to school children in a time of uncertainty.

The Studio in the Elementary School (SITES) art program has been offered free to Marfa Elementary by MSA since 2005, and for over sixteen years, MSA has brought many art classes into the classrooms with innovative hands-on teaching. MSA has supplied the artist/teachers and all the supplies at no cost to the school.

This year the MSA has been working with Marfa Elementary to put together a program that is responsive and supportive of their safety protocols during the pandemic, so the classes will be held in the homeroom of each grade level to keep disease migration at a minimum. Normally all the art supplies are shared, but this year each child in the school will have their own “art box” with all the materials they will need for the classes. The Marfa Education Foundation has generously supported the purchase of materials.

What is particularly unique to this year’s program will be that almost all instruction is being provided in a video series developed by MSA. The program reached out to the community to find this year’s teachers, but because of COVID, many potential candidates had left town. The MSA decided to contact some of the best teachers of the past years to help develop the curriculum and make art class videos. They are very excited to announce that the artist teachers for 2020-2021 will be Jennifer Lane (San Antonio, Texas), Rae Anna Hample (Baltimore, Maryland), Caroline Kanner (Oakland, California) and Wendy Lynn Wright (Cambria, California).

Teaching art is always a hands-on experience, so to help the children with each lesson or project, the MSA has also hired two classroom artists. Montgomery Welt (Alpine) and Julie Fischer (Marfa) are both very accomplished artists and will bring their skills and enthusiasm to guide the children through the series. Annette Mendoza, MSA staff, has also been an invaluable asset to help bring this program to the school this year. Marfa artist Tina Riviera will be the video editor for this series.

It’s going to be a challenging school year, but the video class series has built-in flexibility to be presented to the kids when they are able to be in the classroom. The series can also be made available to homeschool children as well.

The Studio in the Elementary School Art Program is funded by the Mitchell Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the Texas Commission on the Arts, Network for Good and the Marfa Education Foundation. It is also supported by generous members of the community Janie and Dick DeGuerin. If you would like to help support the program, visit the MSA website to donate at marfastudioarts.org.


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