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Elementary Students Prepare Works for LPIE Art Fairs

As the school year starts winding down to a close, Lafayette’s elementary students are getting ready to show off the amazing art projects they created during the year at the upcoming LPIE Art Fairs.

Students from all four elementary schools choose one piece of art they created during their LPIE art lessons to display at the fairs, which will take place during each school’s open house night in May. With the help of their dedicated LPIE art instructors, students pick their favorite piece, which will then be mounted and prepared for display by LPIE and parent volunteers.

During Helen Hirsch’s 2nd grade class at Springhill Elementary, LPIE Art Instructor Laura Ponder walked around the classroom as students reviewed their art pieces from the year.

Second grader Will Forschler chose a woven pattern project to show at the art fair over another piece that depicted a figure dancing.

“I like the checkered pattern on this,” he said.

Springhill 2nd grader Sean Geraghty shows his favorite LPIE Art projects.

Sean Geraghty’s choices were between a tonal picture that depicted the swirls of a tornado and a flower drawing that he made for his mom. Gillian Massey chose a picture of a woman singing that she made using only paper, scissors and glue.

“She’s a star!” gushed Massey.

Ponder said she strives to display balanced examples of the art works the students produced during the year so that parents and the community get a good idea of the range of subjects studied. In second grade, the LPIE art curriculum includes self-portraits, collages, weaving, distance and perspective along with color value and a clay project. Among the artists studied included Georgia O’Keefe, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Piet Mondrian.

Meanwhile, 5th graders at Lafayette Elementary embarked on their last project of the year, a sculpture based on the work of artist Alexander Calder, who is known for producing hanging, mobile structures.

LPIE instructor Valyrie Gillum demonstrated the step-by-step process of putting wires into a wooden base to Vanessa Olona’s 5th grade class, patiently walking around and helping students who were had questions about the intricate work.

Some students were even familiar with Calder’s work as some of it is exhibited at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

Lafayette teacher Olona said the connections that the students make from the class to seeing art in real life has been a rewarding thing to observe during the year.

“Having a connection to real life art – they love it,” says Olona.

First through 5th grade students across the district receive 15 sessions of LPIE Art instruction during the year, while transitional Kindergarteners get 6 lessons and Kindergarteners get 10. For many students, the classes are a highlight.

LPIE Art Instructor Laura Ponder looks through students' artwork.

“I walk in for our lesson and you’d think Beyonce had just walked in!” says Ponder. “I’m exaggerating but it does boost your ego a bit.”

LPIE currently has 18 art instructors who provide lessons in elementary and Stanley Middle School. For elementary grades, LPIE funding for art instruction is $88,165 for the current school year.

To see the amazing quality of elementary students’ art work be sure to check out the Art Fairs – Lafayette Elementary’s will be Thursday, May 18th, Springhill’s on Wednesday, May 24th and Burton Valley and Happy Valley’s will be on Thursday, May 25th. We hope to see you there!


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