For the past several years, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum has been taking art outside the walls of the museum and into local schools as a part of the Art in the Schools outreach program.
Students in Sarah Brecht's fourth-grade class at St. Edmond Elementary School had the opportunity to take a break from their usual classroom routine Tuesday afternoon to get a lesson in art history from Linda Flaherty, art educator at the Blanden.
"The kids really enjoy it," said Brecht. "It's one of their favorite activities."
Each year the program focuses on one of the artists featured in the Blanden's permanent collection. The featured artist for the 2008-2009 school year has been Rembrandt Van Rijn.
Students first watched a cartoon video presentation depicting Rembrandt's life and art work, and then had the opportunity to create their own Rembrandt-style etched scratch-art poster.
Creativity was in great supply as the students partnered with their classmates to make their creations.
As Andrew Lennane worked on his project he stopped for a moment to contemplate his creation.
"I'm not sure what I'm making yet," he said, "It kind of looks like a dog."
Another of Lenane's works was a sunset reflecting over water.
"This one's my best," he said proudly. "I think I'll give it to my mom."
Across the room, 10-year-old Rachel Sherry carefully focused on her next move as she etched out a picture of the Earth and stars.
"I'm being careful with it," said Sherry. "It took me a long time to trace the continents. It's fun, though."
Logan Fear was a little more impressed with Rembrandt himself. After learning that Rembrandt's famous painting "Night Watch," was more than 12 feet tall, Fear thought it would be fun to create a tall painting someday.
"That's cool," he said. "I'd like to make a really big project like that."
The Art in the Schools program serves students in Webster, Calhoun, Humboldt, Hamilton, Pocahontas and Wright Counties. The program is offered to all elementary classes in the six-county area.
"This year we have 41 classes scheduled," said Flaherty. "That's more than 900 kids. It's always a fun program. It's something in addition to their regular art class at school."
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org