CPS art students paint rocks for garden slice
June 17 – Community members can now jump, jump, and jump on artwork created by local elementary school students.
The hand-painted, cemented tiles in the Master Gardeners’ Teaching Gardens form a game of hopscotch. The episode is one of many pieces created by young people from the community for the children’s section of the Educational Gardens.
Carolyn Peterson, a volunteer with Master Gardeners, said she saw the idea for painted hopscotch tiles online and loved it. Not being an artist herself, Peterson was able to connect with some of the Claremore Public School art teachers and involve local students.
Art teachers Jen Coffey (Catalayah Elementary), Amber Reavis (Stuart Roosa Elementary), Andrea Ratcliff (Westside Elementary), and Tina Francis (Claremont Elementary) jumped at the chance to bring kids and community together. Together, they each created three tiles with their students, for a total of 12 hopscotch squares.
“We were all into it,” Ratcliff said. “Everyone was ready to contribute to this project. I think it’s always a great opportunity when the community and schools connect and work together.”
Teachers said painting on concrete was a learning lesson for students and themselves. Reavis said she had to learn that the tiles were absorbing more paint than expected. The project also taught students to work together, Ratcliff said.
“Any time you have a group project, that team aspect comes into play,” Ratcliff said. “Not only did our children work as a team on an individual site, but they worked with [The Master Gardeners]we worked as a team as a district and as a community.”
The art teachers worked together to make sure none of the tiles were too similar. Art teacher Jen Coffey, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, had her students paint a tile with feathers and taught them how to paint with a toothbrush. Speaking about the Cherokee influence on the art, Peterson said the Nation made the first donation of the gardens so they could build a fence.
On another tile, Coffey had his students use daubers, then had them paint lines around the dots to create flowers and butterflies.
Francis said his students searched for tutorials online to help them paint sunflowers.
“A couple of girls made the sunflowers and they watched YouTube tutorials on how to do it,” Francis said.
Each teacher took the project and made it their own and did the project with different ages to give a variety of style in the installment.
“We all loved it,” Coffey said.
Peterson said she hopes to add more to the kindergarten soon, like wind chimes and a xylophone. Located right next to a paddling pool and playground, she said she hopes the gardens can be another place for children to learn and play.
“We want it to be flowery and kid-friendly,” she said.
Anyone can visit the art at the Educational Gardens at 1564 Camden St. The Educational Gardens are free and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday.