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The City Journals

Brookwood Elementary’s art-a-palooza engages students, community

May 07, 2018 11:52AM ● By Julie Slama

Play-Doh was a favorite activity for school children at Brookwood’s eighth annual art-a-palooza. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Megan Olsen oversaw her children — Josh, Rachel, Mikey and Lizzy — who all had a chance to paint with vegetables as part of the largest event at Brookwood Elementary this year: its art-a-palooza.

“This is our first time coming to art-a-palooza,” Olsen said. “We wanted to support the school. I like how it encourages creativity so it’s a fun family night.”

Already her children made bookmarks, created objects with Play-Doh and used stencils in creating artwork. Olsen also coordinated her son’s third-grade gift basket for the silent auction that was held in conjunction with numerous hands-on activities.

Parent volunteer Abby Pohlman chaired the event. She hoped to raise $10,000 through the silent auction as well as with the bake sale, with items ranging from freshly baked Easter-frosted sugar cookies to homemade caramel corn to pink lemonade cupcakes. 

“We had 100 items to bid on, from garden tools in a wagon to (Real Salt Lake) tickets and a blanket to a chair made out of skis,” she said. “Our teachers even donated an Italian dinner experience so a family could have dinner with them.”

The money is used to help fund their new math computer program, ST Math, as well as Math Olympiad, the school spelling and geography bees, debate, hands-on science, grade-level STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) as well as Chromebooks, Pohlman said.

At the event, more than 700 students and their families could learn various arts from martial arts to bread-making. Students also enjoyed face painting, working with clay and balloon art.

Raquel Hinz, who brought her twin kindergartners Emma and Madsen, said they were excited to come.

“They talked about it for weeks and wanted me to see their art on the wall,” she said about the art gallery walk through every grade level in the school. “We’ve already supported the bake sale, and had their faces painted.”

The gallery walk featured kindergartners’ artwork using shapes to create “Bright Lights, Big City” cityscapes. First-graders used watercolors and oil pastels to create gardens filled with bugs in their artwork display, “What’s in your Garden?” 

Second-graders used wet-on-wet watercolor with salt to create an ocean effect in their display of “Underwater Gardens,” and third-graders were inspired by artist Karla Gerard to create “Wild and Crazy Landscapes” that were full of color.

Fourth-graders designed their own bugs, learning symmetry as they drew them, colored them with oil pastels and added sparkly dots and an iridescent spray finish. Fifth-grade students drew landscapes, then traced over the scenes with clear glue before filling them in with oil colors.

Art on display was a large part of art-a-palooza, which began in 2011 by Channa Vyfvinkel after Canyons School District asked schools to focus on the arts during the month of January. As the event continued, it was moved to March so outside art activities could be included and the event expanded to include the gallery walk.

“This event has grown every year and every teacher comes to help and we have amazing parents who offer their talents and time to introduce new projects to students,” Vyfinkel said in 2014.

The event also combined with the school fundraiser.

“One hundred percent of the silent auction money goes to directly benefit and support Brookwood programs,” Pohlman said. “This has become a fine-tuned machine with everyone involved. We even had safety patrol today with ‘art-a-palooza tonight’ signs.”

Fifth-grader Luke Park came to “be a part of it all.”

“I’ve used watercolors and pencils and now I’m creating art with stencils,” he said. “It’s fun and it supports all of our school activities.”