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Channing Hall Arts Night Becomes Interactive Experience

Jun 09, 2016 09:33AM ● Published by Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


It was more than the opportunity to see school children’s artwork on the walls. Families had the chance to solve a mysterious code, try their hands at dance and drama and even take a selfie at Channing Hall’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” arts show. 

“We wanted to make it an arts night where parents and children lingered, enjoyed it and made memories,” Channing Hall visual arts teacher Kara Aina said.  “So we made it a way they would not only celebrate, but be engaged in the arts.” 

The April 14 evening showcased all the elementary students’ artwork and about 75 percent of the middle school’s student body’s artwork, most hung on black butcher-paper panels, with some ceramic tiles, pots and sculptures displayed on tables. About 250 people attended. 

“Students went through their portfolios and chose their favorite piece of artwork or they could bring it from home. It was their selection as it gave them more ownership in the show. Then, we’d group them by class in elementary and by grade in the middle school. A lot of the projects were based on IB [international baccalaureate] units and art history. The show had more variety and visually, it was much more interesting than if everyone displayed the same artwork,” Aina said.

 Prizes, such as watercolor pencils, sketch pads, art kits and clay that students could fire and glaze, were given to art show winners.

 Near some of the artwork were hieroglyphic codes created by eighth-graders for families to follow, like a scavenger hunt to unravel and solve the mysterious saying.

 “It was challenging; even some parents really got into it and wanted hints to help their families solve the mystery,” Aina said.

 Eighth-grade volunteers, who were dressed as Egyptians, also helped with sarcophagus in an alcove tomb and helped created jewels, goblets and gold spilling out of treasure chests near the full-size mummy, which Aina created by casting a student. LED lights helped make the treasure glow.

Students also could follow the Nile, which led them along an obstacle course where students could place snakes in baskets, hook some fish, and sling them in a basket, which they placed on their head to cross the river. Parent Rachael McKinnon coordinated the activity.

 Above each classroom door where families entered, eighth-graders created curses, which hung as a warning.

 “There were fun ones as well as more serious sayings, such as ‘Death by Doritos’ or ‘Death to those who cross this tomb,’” Aina said.

 In the classrooms were activities for art show goers to try, such as creating trading cards, testing art techniques, learning dance and trying their hands at drama.

 With an Egyptian playlist that featured Middle Eastern music, Egyptian dance moves were taught by Kalli Parkin and the drama workshop was created by Sammy Stone.

 “The workshops were big hits as were the trading cards that allowed students the freedom of deciding what medium they wanted to use and test it, maybe taking it to another level,” she said.

 A science, technology, engineering, arts and math workshop that allowed students to learn more on Chrombooks about Egyptian subjects such as hieroglyphics and Scarab beetles was available to research. It was overseen by school librarian Missy Badberg.

 The night included dance team, band and orchestra performances, face painting, temporary tattoos and a chance to take a selfie with Egyptian headdress, snakes, baskets and other props with a backdrop of pyramids, thanks to the help of Emily Jones, who helped with the booth.

 “It was a fun theme, which tied into our sixth-grade curriculum. We thought it would be fun for the older students to refresh what they learned and for the grades approaching the subject to get an idea of what they’ll be learning,” Aina said.

 The arts committee consisted of six parents: Marissa Burridge, Emily Jones, Dulce Hollenbach, Susan Levin, Rachael McKinnon and Kalli Parkin as well as Aina, who planned the evening. Six student council members, 10 eighth-graders and 10 parents helped prepare and volunteer that evening.   

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