Chicago Studio Artists Share Skills with CPS Students

June 14, 2018 By catherine-norcott

During this past spring, the Chicago Studio had the opportunity to collaborate with students and teachers at Vaughn Occupational School to offer a suite of three art lessons.  Lead teacher, Dara Bayliss organized this with former studio volunteer and teaching intern.

Chicago Studio educators, Mike Marino and Christina Zion planned and taught lessons in line, shape and pattern to a group of 16 high school students.  In each lesson, teachers shared information about how artists can use these basic building blocks to make art. Afterwards, students practiced using the techniques they learned in a variety of projects, including drawing and collage.  

In the first lesson, students engaged in Blind Contour Drawing, testing out their skills by making portraits of peers.  Challenging for even the most experienced artists, Vaughn students enjoyed lots of laughs after sharing their finished works.

In the second lesson, students reviewed shapes, with time to practice drawing each one.  After that students turned triangles, squares and circles into collage.

In the third lesson, students built on their knowledge of line and shape to discuss pattern.  They learned a bit about contemporary art, looking at sculptures by Yayoi Kusama. Later, they made tessellations inspired by M.C. Escher.

Teaching Artist, Christina Zion was excited and proud to continue teaching.  “It felt pretty good. It made me happy to teach them all about art. I told them how to do it.  And I showed them. And then, they did it on their own!”

She cited fun as one of the reasons for trying her hand at teaching.  One of her first experiences with the Teaching Artist Residency Program was presenting art lessons to adults at Esperanza Community Services.  

“First, I taught as Esperanza.  I got to plan lessons. I liked the one where we couldn’t look at the paper to draw, just straight at the person.  I felt like I was less confident before, but then it got easier.”

But teaching high schoolers provided her a new and different opportunity to share her knowledge of artmaking.  And as for her students, she had this to say:

“They are all pretty happy!  That was the last class. Everyone was showing off their drawings.  I was glad that they could come to the studio. Because I only saw them a few times, I didn’t get to know them so well.  But still, it was pretty fun.”

We are looking forward to continuing this partnership with Vaughn students and educators.  Christina is already considering next fall’s curriculum.