Each year, students at Laura Welch Bush Elementary School take part in a very special art project at the end of the school year. The entire room is covered in white butcher paper to catch the paint flung from fly swatters, tracked in circles with a tricycle and splattered from a paint-covered bowling ball and pins. Bush ES students are hard at work on their process art projects, expanding their creativity by exploring with non-traditional art tools.
“I love watching the kiddos get messy, they are like kids in a candy store being able to create without boundaries,” Bush ES art teacher Amber Arnold-Gordon said. “And doing this project just before summer, it helps our students see the possibilities everyday household objects can have with a little imagination.”
Arnold-Gordon began the project three years ago as a fun new way for students to decorate their portfolios. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the curriculum standards set by the State Board of Education, requires students to create a portfolio of art work each year. With the process art project, at the end of the school year they not only have a body of artwork to be proud of, but a fun and personalized portfolio to house it.
Students have a week to decorate their portfolios and can choose from a number of different stations, including using a paint brush held by a power drill, painting with feet or throwing paint-soaked sponges. The stations and materials change every year to encourage continued exploration.
Beyond the art aspect, Arnold-Gordon added that she hopes the love and passion she has for her job as an art teacher can inspire her students to find a career they love just as much. Pieces of the painted butcher paper will remain on display in her art room throughout the year to remind her and her students of that sentiment.