Our Night of the Arts mural has become a tradition at my school. Each year, third grade creates the background and kindergarten adds an element to it. This year, kindergarten created butterflies and third grade made a springtime garden.
The mural is 6ft tall and 24 ft long and made up of four pieces of white butcher paper. I draw out the design with pencil beforehand and then third grade works to paint inside the lines. We usually work on two to three pieces at a time and spread it out on the floor and tables. Some classes can even work together on all four pieces, and they love to be able to see all of it. I complete the mural by painting the black lines and then hot gluing the butterflies. This whole process takes about three weeks.
This is the seventh year our amazing music teacher and I have put on the Night of the Arts! This event showcases work from every student from Pre-K to 5th grade. We have crafts for families and a music performance including all of the instrumental and choral groups at our school.
Each year, we expand the idea of a Night of the Arts even more, but the process gets easier and even more fun! The art exhibit in the cafeteria opens at 5:00 and ends just after 7:00. The music performance in the multi purpose space begins at 6:00. The challenge is that this is a one night event that must be all set up and taken down in the one day.
Over the years, I've learned a few things that make life so much easier around art show time. It can get crazy, but I live by these rules:
1. It's never too early to start getting ready for the big art show. I begin in January so that I can slowly make sure all students finish their artwork, prep the artwork, and promote the event.
2. Tape rolls! Whenever you have a few extra minutes, sit down and make some tape rolls. Stick them to a lunch tray and save them for later. This will save you so, so much time the week and day of the show.
3. Ask for help. This one is hard for me, but having the support means so much to me and makes the whole event easier. Parent volunteers cut my laminated artworks, PTO provides the refreshments, students help me move artwork in to the cafeteria the day of, teachers help me set up, and teachers and staff also help teach the crafts during the Night of the Arts. At the end of the night, I have to take the whole show down (except for the mural) because the school needs the space for breakfast the next day. Everyone, even some parents, help bring it all back to my room that night. I could not do this event without the amazing support I have at my school.
It was such a beautiful Night of the Arts! The mural is still hanging for a few more weeks, but then it will all be taken down, too. And I'm already thinking of some new concepts for the next Night of the Arts...
These sweet butterflies were made by my kindergarten students! Each class made butterflies with a different color and they were glued to the mural created by third grade. The artwork was then displayed at our Night of the Arts!
I've always done the same lesson across all of the classes in a grade level, so having the different colors was new to me. Some classes mixed colors for their butterflies, others did not, but all classes created tints when printing the spots.
This was also the first time I have used glitter in my classroom! And I was crazy enough to do it with kindergarten! It was better than I ever could have imagined. They did such a great job and were so responsible. I loved how their work sparkled up on the wall for the art show, so it was worth the mess!
This lesson was definitely required more work on my part, but it was worth it for such a special part of our Night of the Arts. I hot glued all of the painted paper plates together and glued the pipe-cleaners after school. Students could have done this with regular school glue, but I wanted to make sure they were sturdy enough to be displayed on the mural.
Everyone loved these beautiful butterflies! I'm not looking forward to taking them down. I love seeing them everyday!
Our mural is always my favorite part of the Night of the Arts! I love that it makes a big impact and that so many students take part in it.
Third graders worked together to create the background. I drew the design in pencil and they filled it in. I pulled small groups to work on parts of the mural, and when they were done with their area, they would go work on a mural worksheet I created. By the end, some classes were able to all be working on the mural together. Those are the best moments! But I also had one class that was not able to participate because of behavior and they worked on an alternative individual painting.
Kindergarten created their cute little tigers a few weeks earlier. I hot glued them to the mural when they were finished. I learned in previous years that tape just doesn't cut it! When the show is over, all of the tigers were still attached, so I pulled them off and the background was thrown away.
This year, students also created giant leaf paintings and individual leaves to use as decoration for the Night of the Arts. The large paintings were used to cover tables and to hang with artworks. The smaller leaves filled in tables and were used on the cards with the teachers' names. Third, fourth, and fifth made the large paintings by painting only leaf shapes (Rule #1), using only three colors and class (Rule #2), and working responsibly (Rule #3). They were able to walk around and change colors when they choose.
I had a few second grade classes make 12x18 painted papers with green and third grade added the lines with premixed colors to the individual leaves. These were then laminated and used in the show. Students did not get to keep them since multiple students worked on each leaf. I saved them and may use them as classroom decorations in the future.
It's my favorite night of the school year! The music teacher and I have been hosting the Night of the Arts since my first year teaching. I love having a night where kids can show their family their artwork and create art and music. Each year the event has become bigger and better!
Each student from pre-k through fifth grade has an artwork displayed in the exhibit. I like to have students create 3D works or smaller works that can easily be attached to science boards because it makes the set up time much faster. We have over 600 artworks to display in less than three hours! I am thankful to have great support at my school and so many teachers offered to help me set up.
I do most of the work before the show on my own during every free moment I have starting all the way back in February. Sometimes that means making tape rolls for two or three minutes and sticking them to a tray to save for later. Other times it's labeling a few pieces of art and getting them in class boxes to be carried to the cafeteria. I am thankful that my principal allows me to not have classes after lunch on the day of the show. This allows me to focus on any last minute details and start displaying the work. The mural created by third grade and kindergarten is hung the afternoon before the show because it takes so long to get up.
This year, PTO provided us with the best homemade brownies and refreshments! They are so wonderful to prepare that aspect of the event and get it all set up.
It takes months for this all to come together, but it is always worth it! I love seeing how proud my students are of their work and how art brings everyone together.
The week after the show, all artwork is taken home and it really starts to feel like the end of the year. I do leave up the mural, though. I wait until the last minute to take it down and get those sweet little tigers back to their kindergartners.
Now to think of ideas for next year...
Pre-K/ VPK: Painted butterflies
Kindergarten: Texture tigers
First grade: Apple weaving
Second grade: Heart sewing
Third grade: Circular loom weaving and background for the mural
Fourth grade: Ceramic flowers
Fifth grade: Ceramic animal coil pots
This was my favorite Night of the Arts yet! We had so many families attend the music program, create art with their children, and view the work their children have made this year.
Our Night of the Arts consists of a PreK/VPK through fifth grade art exhibit from 5:30-7:30 in the cafeteria and a music program outside the cafeteria beginning at 6:30.
The event has changed so much over the years, and each year I believe the show has improved. I've learned to work smarter, so it doesn't have to be as stressful as it was during my first year teaching.
Asking for help from volunteers and teachers has saved me so much time. I set up the whole show the day of the event, and I have temporary duty after lunch to begin setting up. The other teachers come to help around 3:00 and it was like magic how it all came together so quickly. I do hang the mural the afternoon before because it is the most time consuming element. It takes me about forty minutes to get all of the pieces to the cafeteria and taped in place.
We begin the pieces that will be displayed in the Night of the Arts in January and February. This gives me plenty of time for the lengthy projects, like ceramics and the mural. This year, I was completely done mounting and labeling artwork about two weeks before the show. Then, I could focus on the little things like refreshments and cutting paper to size for the tables.
I am so proud of what this event has become. It is wonderful to work in an environment where the arts are supported so greatly and we can have events like this. Now to start dreaming of ideas for next year!
We created these turtles for the first time late last school year, and I knew they had to be in the Night of the Arts this year. They are adorable and the kindergartners loved their turtles and the process for making them.
On the first day of this lesson, we made green, and more green, and more green until the paper plates (buy the thick ones!) were filled. Some students took their time and delicately painted every speck, taking nearly the entire forty-five minute class period. I don't want to rush anyone when they are working so well, so we do the printing during the next class. I try to do this lesson after other printing lessons to build on those skills. During the second day of making the turtles, we also trace the shapes for the legs and head. We draw the eyes with oil pastels and cut and glue the pieces to finish up the turtles on the third day of the lesson.
And then if we have a few extra moments, I let them play with their sweet turtles, because what five or six year old wouldn't want to?
I am an ninth year art teacher with degrees in Art Education from Flagler College and the University of Florida, living and working in northern Florida. Each week, I teach over six hundred students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Here you will find what we are learning virtually and in the art classroom!