One of the perks of virtual learning is that Ellis students have the chance to connect with experts and professionals from across the country—no plane ticket or road trip required. Whether it’s a university professor or a popular journalist, these experiences give girls the opportunity to learn about different careers and professions as they themselves consider what they want to be “when they grow up.” For the Class of 2033, their opportunity came in the form of an artist talk with Laura Berman, a printmaker who often draws inspiration from the natural world, whose work they have been studying.
Kindergarten has been learning about Ms. Berman as part of a larger unit centered around the question, "How can nature inspire artwork?" Students also studied the work of Alma Thomas and Georgia O'Keeffe in addition to Ms. Berman, and have been experimenting with a range of materials including acrylic paint, watercolors, and printmaking by hand with markers. Soon they will explore clay and printmaking with ink on campus.
Ms. Berman joined the kindergarten class during a remote learning week from her art studio and spoke to students about her work, her tools, and where she draws inspiration from. She showed them her collections of rocks and shells that she keeps in her studio, and answered questions ranging from “Who's your favorite printmaker?" to "Did you know that I have two wiggly teeth?" At the end of the class, kindergarten students held up pages from their sketchbooks to show Ms. Berman their artwork as well.
“It is so important for Ellis students to meet contemporary artists,” shared Sarah Ceurvorst, Lower School Art Teacher. “Students get to see that these artists are not just mythical figures who only exist inside of the walls of a museum. Artists are real people. I want my students to see themselves reflected in the life and work of other artists. Artists can speak like their aunt, or look like their neighbor, or laugh like their sister. These connections help my students understand that they themselves are artists.”