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One of many 1st grader glass mosaic plates hanging in
the front lobby at Adams Elementary, Hamilton, Ohio.

Click here to download and read
Eastridge's Artist-in-Residency Proposal
COMING SOON

Eastridge will be creating a formal lesson plan
for this project, which you will be able
to download and print for your own use.


Adams Elementary Artist-in-Residence Program, Hamilton, Ohio
Jen Eastridge served as the First Grade "Artist-in-Residence" at Hamilton City School District's Adams Elementary during the week of May 16 - 20, 2005. She had a wonderful week with the students and teachers!  This residency was made possible by
SPECTRA+ (Schools, Parents, Education, Children, Teachers, Rediscover the Arts) -- a nationally acclaimed arts education program as featured in USA Today and recognized by the US Secretary of Education.  Hamilton, Ohio's Fitton Center for Creative Arts works with Adams Elementary, which was named one of three SPECTRA+ schools in the Hamilton City School District.  Unfortunately, this grant program ended, so Eastridge considers herself fortunate to have been part of this wonderful program of visiting artists.

Eastridge caught wind of this program through an artist friend, and quickly wrote a proposal to apply.  That same day she heard from Melissa, the art teacher with whom she would work with over the next two weeks (including the project completion and installation).  After presenting her proposal to Melissa, the project coordinator and the team of first grade teachers, she was selected as the Artist-in-Residence for the Adams Elementary First Graders, which consisted of four large classrooms of children. 

Eastridge's project idea was to work with the first graders on basic concepts of color, shape and inspiration, which would lead them toward their larger endeavor: creating a large mosaic made with smooth accent marbles. Originally, she proposed solid large plexi panels with grout, which would be installed in the beautiful huge floor-to-20 ft. ceiling of the Adams Elementary lobby.  But, after discussion of a possible new (needed) school building in the near future, it quickly came into perspective that this large installation would need to be easily uninstalled and reinstalled in a new building which may have entirely different architecture.  So, we came to a solution, which proved to be better, more affordable, and lighter weight - heavy, clear plastic plates!  This also allowed the students to make a small mosaic plate for them to take home with them and hang in their own window.  They liked that a lot!

Eastridge wanted to focus on the following:

  • Free, organic  forms

  • Free and fun use of color

  • Integration of color and shape into environment (indoors & in nature)

  • Integrating use of light and space

  • Highly expressive and hands-on

  • Impromptu, active creation

  • Driven by instant gratification

  • Experimenting and having fun!

Adams Elementary Artist-in-Residence Photo Gallery

Day One: Eastridge met with students and talked with them about color, shape, form, creativity and inspiration.  They looked at examples of Dale Chihuly's artwork, as well as a long display of round, colorful objects Eastridge prepared for the students.  Some of these items were: marbles, artist palette, plates, beads, balls, fuzzy pom poms and a wall display of laminated circles drawn by Eastridge with oil pastels on white paper circles.  They appeared to be almost planet-like, which appealed to them, but they still seemed taken with the colored marbles and fuzzy pom poms on the table.  After they played with the display of round objects, we introduced them to the Inspiration Room.  This was a large art supply closet that Eastridge and the art teacher cleaned and turned into a fun, colorful place they could come to throughout the week as a reward from their teacher/s for good behavior.  The students could come and hang out in the Inspiration Room, which had inflatable chairs, walls lined with silver poster board, lava lamps and a work station with white paper circles and containers full of oil pastels.  Students who got to visit the Inspiration Room also received a sticker that they would wear the rest of the day that read, "I've Been Inspired!"  Luckily, the closet was right next to the art room, so it was supervised at all times. 

Getting started in the classrooms: Each day in their classrooms, we started with a fun poem or piece of writing that rang of colors, shapes, smells or taste, such as Shell Silverstein's "Colors."  Each day's lesson was also accompanied by fun music to encourage brave creativity.  The students were then given the chance to make their own colorful circles with oil pastel, which were then laminated (see one class's results in a photo below).  They then cut out their laminated circles and took them home.  The students seemed to really enjoy the oil pastels!  After this exercise, they were invited to bring an inspirational object to school with them the following day to share with the rest of their classmates in a "show & tell" type forum.  Eastridge shows the students (below right) one of her favorite colorful mugs as her inspirational object, from which the students draw numbers for the next day's activity.

Day Three-Five: Once the students were introduced to the idea of colorful glass marbles and the plate mosaics, they were pumped!  They LOVED the fun glass pieces, which almost looked like shiny candy in their hands.  It was amazing to see the different approaches they all took to this concept.  Some just jumped in with both feet, pouring a cornucopia of colors onto their plates with complete abandon.  Others carefully picked their colors and approached their pieces like engineering designers.  Symmetry in some and others with none whatsoever.  Some even had representational elements within, such as flowers or faces.  They really enjoyed their time with this project and were tickled to take one small plate mosaic of their own home to display in their own windows. 

Installation: After they all had the marbles siliconed to the plates, Eastridge, along with the art teacher and first grade teaching team, hung the plate mosaics in the grand windows of the Adams lobby.  This installation was done by placing small screw eyes along the underside of the window frames, from which the monofilament was strung to dangle each plate.  Not only did the first graders enjoy seeing their work go up in the front windows, but the other students, teachers and parents were amazed at how beautiful they all were and how they all came together in a sparkling collection of color!  This was a wonderful experience of which Eastridge is grateful to have been a part.

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