Our Night of the Arts mural has become a tradition at my school. Each year, third grade creates the background and kindergarten adds an element to it. This year, kindergarten created butterflies and third grade made a springtime garden.
The mural is 6ft tall and 24 ft long and made up of four pieces of white butcher paper. I draw out the design with pencil beforehand and then third grade works to paint inside the lines. We usually work on two to three pieces at a time and spread it out on the floor and tables. Some classes can even work together on all four pieces, and they love to be able to see all of it. I complete the mural by painting the black lines and then hot gluing the butterflies. This whole process takes about three weeks.
This is the seventh year our amazing music teacher and I have put on the Night of the Arts! This event showcases work from every student from Pre-K to 5th grade. We have crafts for families and a music performance including all of the instrumental and choral groups at our school.
Each year, we expand the idea of a Night of the Arts even more, but the process gets easier and even more fun! The art exhibit in the cafeteria opens at 5:00 and ends just after 7:00. The music performance in the multi purpose space begins at 6:00. The challenge is that this is a one night event that must be all set up and taken down in the one day.
Over the years, I've learned a few things that make life so much easier around art show time. It can get crazy, but I live by these rules:
1. It's never too early to start getting ready for the big art show. I begin in January so that I can slowly make sure all students finish their artwork, prep the artwork, and promote the event.
2. Tape rolls! Whenever you have a few extra minutes, sit down and make some tape rolls. Stick them to a lunch tray and save them for later. This will save you so, so much time the week and day of the show.
3. Ask for help. This one is hard for me, but having the support means so much to me and makes the whole event easier. Parent volunteers cut my laminated artworks, PTO provides the refreshments, students help me move artwork in to the cafeteria the day of, teachers help me set up, and teachers and staff also help teach the crafts during the Night of the Arts. At the end of the night, I have to take the whole show down (except for the mural) because the school needs the space for breakfast the next day. Everyone, even some parents, help bring it all back to my room that night. I could not do this event without the amazing support I have at my school.
It was such a beautiful Night of the Arts! The mural is still hanging for a few more weeks, but then it will all be taken down, too. And I'm already thinking of some new concepts for the next Night of the Arts...
These sweet butterflies were made by my kindergarten students! Each class made butterflies with a different color and they were glued to the mural created by third grade. The artwork was then displayed at our Night of the Arts!
I've always done the same lesson across all of the classes in a grade level, so having the different colors was new to me. Some classes mixed colors for their butterflies, others did not, but all classes created tints when printing the spots.
This was also the first time I have used glitter in my classroom! And I was crazy enough to do it with kindergarten! It was better than I ever could have imagined. They did such a great job and were so responsible. I loved how their work sparkled up on the wall for the art show, so it was worth the mess!
This lesson was definitely required more work on my part, but it was worth it for such a special part of our Night of the Arts. I hot glued all of the painted paper plates together and glued the pipe-cleaners after school. Students could have done this with regular school glue, but I wanted to make sure they were sturdy enough to be displayed on the mural.
Everyone loved these beautiful butterflies! I'm not looking forward to taking them down. I love seeing them everyday!
I am an eighth year art teacher with degrees in Art Education, living and working in northern Florida. Each week, I teach over six hundred students in grades PreK through fifth. Here you will find what we are learning in the art classroom!