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Degas show


From: Geoffrey McClain (skygeoff_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 18 2003 - 06:00:26 PST

I'm writing this at the start of another "snow day" - no school for us in NJ where we are under two feet of snow. Our mailbox just clears the bank of snow that it's in.
Last Friday my husband and I went to see the Degas show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's called "Degas and the Dance". I took a personal day and was able to get three hours of professional development for going. (Here in NJ we need 100 hours of professional development in 5 years.)
The show was beautiful with gallery after gallery filled with Degas' ballerinas. We had the audio tour - this came free along with our tickets because we are members of the museum. Only a few paintings were discussed on the tour. They had a children's audio version for some of the paintings. I listened to the adult and the child version so I could hear how they talked to children about the paintings. It's probably just as well that only a few paintings were highlighted because we were in the exhibit for an hour and a half.
We also visited a small gallery to see a show of folk art from India. I liked this very much, too. The drawings have a childlike quality and would appeal to children and adults.
The parent group at my school had recently given me $400 to spend any way I chose so I bought lots of children's books on Degas, posters and prints. I also bought a wonderful teacher's packet and posters on Medieval Art which I've been doing since September.
My third graders did a week of quick gesture drawings of their classmates. Students took turns standing on a table in different poses while the other children drew them in a quick scribble line. We folded the paper into eight rectangles beforehand and they drew a different child in each space. Then I posed a wooden mannikin in various ballet poses and the children did chalk pastels drawings of ballerinas on dark colored construction paper. They drew three to seven ballerinas on the page all wearing lovely blended pastel tutus and ballet shoes. The pictures were charming, especially those done by the boys (who were very good sports about all this ballet stuff).
I hung about 20 of these pictures out in the hallway along with the new posters and prints I had bought and some recent newspaper articles about the show which I laminated.
Many of my students have told me they plan to attend the show and some have already gone. The show will be there until May 11th.
Sky in NJ