'Hands' art show beckons

A collection of stunning student art goes on 1-day display Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Mission Middle School.  The pop-up gallery, with work from 150 seventh- and eighth-graders, will showcase broad variety around a single theme.


Each student was instructed to trace his or her hand – and then turn that outline into interpretive art.  While the concept may sound simple, the result was dramatic – inspiring the Impromptu Art Show.


"What really made it stand out is that every single piece of art is amazing," said Ms. Samantha Pace, art teacher at Mission Middle School.  "It really shows how creative they all are on their own." 


In completing the work, the students grasped class lessons on texture, color and shape, Ms. Pace said, along with principles such as unity of depiction.  For example, the students captured what skin (or in one case, fur) would look and feel like.  They showed understanding of how different colors are grouped together and why.  And they ensured cohesion in each drawing.   


"They made sure the background went with the hand, for example, or that the way the hand was positioned made sense with the rest of their drawing," Ms. Pace said.  One student turned his hand into a fish, and thus designed a sea life background. Another chose solid red as a backdrop for his claw-tipped wolf man digits, because such a creature is perceived as violent.


"We really hit elements and principles of art hard this semester," said Ms. Pace.  "You can really see them using those lessons to make their art stronger."


The students mostly reached for colored pencil, though about 40 percent of the students used markers, paint, or other two-dimensional materials.  The idea for the assignment came from a student, said Ms. Pace: "She was doing something similar – tracing her hand to make it look more realistic."


The instructor waved the notion on, and asked her five art classes to try it.  Each group will share the result during its usual class time on Wednesday in Room 4.  Morning segments of the art show, called "Our Hands…," will run from 10:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.; afternoon exhibits will span 12:50 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 


Ms. Pace also praised her students' progress this year.  "When we first started in the fall, the art was very simple with a lot of blank space."  Now, she said, the entire canvas teems with drawing or paint – as well as with details.  Where before, drawings of people might have been shadows or outlines, now they have texture in their jeans, lines of color in their hair, and many other nuances, the teacher said.


Further applause came from school administrators.  "Students were so inspired and each piece so unique and creative it moved me," said Allison Hesler, assistant principal at Mission Middle.  "It just felt like something that others need to see: school-wide and community."


Visitors are invited to the Impromptu Art Show during one or all class periods.  Please email samantha_pace@jusd.k12.ca.us to sign up for a class/time to view the gallery.


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