An annual event for several years running, the Elementary and Middle School Art Show at The New Century School is always greatly anticipated—TNCS students proudly display their lovingly crafted works of art, and parents marvel at their kids’ imagination and craftsmanship.
Although we can’t see the show in person this year, TNCS’s amazing art teacher Jia Liu has photographed her students’ art to provide a virtual exhibition that demonstrates the diversity of the projects they worked on, the skills they have developed, and the wondrous ideas they chose to bring to life. Their creativity is positively astounding!
As hard as it may be to imagine, Liu Laoshi even conducted art classes virtually since TNCS Virtual School began in March! She shared her experience of teaching in this new way:
I like it; I think it works, especially because I feel the students are very interested in the projects we’re doing now. The only downside of teaching virtual art class is not having access to all the diverse materials we use at school, so the students have to adapt and use whatever we they have. We’re not using paint at all, though, because I feel it’s asking too much of parents to have to prepare everything and then clean it all up. That’s a limitation.
Virtual Visual Arts Show!
Although the TNCS 2020 Art Show does not have a theme per se, Liu Laoshi says this is because she wanted students to work on a variety of projects and in several media. “It’s basically one project after another!” she said.
“Sometimes all divisions do the same project, but do it differently,” explained Liu Laoshi. Take this marbling pattern project ultimately used to make into gorgeous paper lanterns.
“But recently, they’ve been doing different projects.” The K/1 division, for example, generally works on projects that won’t take very long to complete so their attention spans can hold out, whereas the older students engage in longer-term projects. Let’s tour the show!
Gallery 1: Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Flower Drawing Installation
In this collection, students drew bouquets or single stems, and they sure are pretty!
Monster Collage Installation
Who doesn’t love monsters? In this collection, these budding Dr. Frankensteins used colored paper, shapes, coloring, and other materials to bring their creations to life.
Drawing with Objects Installation
Let’s mix some media! For this collection, students used everyday objects and sketched them into scenery or incorporated them as body parts. These are just too fun!
Shape Faces Installation
For the Shape Faces installation, students were given a variety of blob outlines that they could transform into something recognizably human or animal . . . or not!
Wearable Art Installation
This collection will have Project Runway considering a junior version. Students sewed, glued, twisted, colored, and scissored their way into beautiful works of art to sport around town. Love the masks, kids!
Gallery 2: 2nd through 6th Grades
Miniature Box Installation
With this collection, you’ll be wishing you’d kept that diorama you made in grade school. Students first assembled a box shape out of paper, then poured their imaginations inside!
Don’t you just want to live in one of these visionary worlds?
“The older students in 2nd through 6th grade are also working for the whole second semester on creating ‘restaurants’,” explained Liu Laoshi. They design their logo and branding, create their menus, and then build the restaurant with cardboard,” she said. This inventive project engages the students on so many levels, and you’ll see that they had a lot of fun with it!
Recipe Illustration Installation
With the shutdown, lots of turned to baking and cooking. Liu Laoshi used this to her advantage, asking students to illustrate the recipe and the outcome of one of their kitchen endeavors.
From their, the idea grew to the full-fledged restaurant challenge described above. This collection features the restaurants’ logos.
Menus and Branding Installation
Branding is everything! In this collection, students not only refined their restaurant’s identities, but also homed in on what they would serve.
Last step! Restaurant construction is ongoing, but these kids have some big ideas! We hope to show you the finished sites soon!
Gallery 3: 5th through 8th Grades
“The upper elementary and middle school students, meanwhile, have been working on drawing skills—life drawing and portrait drawing,” said Liu Laoshi.
Interiors, exteriors—it doesn’t matter! Paint what your mind’s eye sees!
“The older students really like to learn drawing techniques, so I’ve been doing demos during class,” said Liu Laoshi. “I can show them a lot using photoshop and drawing on screen so they can see what I’m doing directly. Last week I set up another device to be able to record what I’m doing.”
Gallery 4: Personal Work
“Some students have also sent me personal work they have done at home. They really enjoy doing art and want to share it with me,” said Liu Laoshi. “Including their independent work here will make them feel special. Other students do such good work, but they don’t upload it. I think they should!”
Enjoy the show? That’s not all.
More About Jia Liu
Last fall, when TNCS was still physically open, Liu Laoshi gave this interview about why making art is so essential for school children.
She believes in the power of art for students, but Liu Laoshi is also herself a card-carrying artist. Did you know that she is a published children’s book illustrator?
She also has hosted storytime sessions at The Walters Art Museum!
If you want more of what Liu Laoshi can do for your kids, sign them up for one of her Illustrator Specialty Camps in TNCS Virtual Summer Camp, including bookmaking and illustration!