As part of the 2013 Arts in Education Partnership Conference, the NH State Council on the Arts partnered with the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and Madison Elementary School to bring traditional black ash basket maker Alice Ogden to Madison Elementary for a one day artist visit with 5th and 6th grade students.
Alice brought in many examples of baskets she's made, tools, and even a black ash log to demonstrate how the growth rings are split from the tree to make different baskets for different functions. Students worked with Alice and art teacher, Cynthia Robinson to weave a tree star. This artist visit complements many of the other units Cynthia does with her students, placing a high value on respecting and creating art with natural materials.
Through cultural artistic traditions and skills students learn about other cultures as well as their own. They develop empathy and understanding for the expressions of other cultures as well as reaffirm what makes their own community unique. Learning connections beyond the school day and for lifelong learning are fostered by having a traditional artist in the classroom.Sharing the cultural and artistic traditions of a community offers many opportunities for youth to engage in hands on experiential learning and make connections to their culture and heritage. These connections can be used to support the curriculum of many subjects including social studies, history, citizenship, earth science, english language arts, mathematics, and of course the visual arts, music, dance and theatre.
Listen to Cynthia and Alice discuss the importance of artist visits to the classroom: