Ellen Balzer » ART Pre-K, K, 1st grade & World Art elective (6th, 7th/8th)

ART Pre-K, K, 1st grade & World Art elective (6th, 7th/8th)

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."   -Pablo Picasso
I teach ART to preK, Kindergarten, and 1st graders and also teach two World Art elective classes for 6th grade and 7th/8th grade.  This is my first year at Independence Academy and I feel very blessed to be here.  I was the Artist in Residence at Wingate Elementary School for 5 years prior to coming here (K-5th).   
I am originally from Pennsylvania but have lived in Colorado since 2001 (Denver, Craig, Durango, GJ).  I have two teenagers and stay busy with them while fitting in yoga, sewing, jewelry making, weaving, reading, traveling, hiking, biking, and cooking.  My love for traveling started when I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia in college.  It was my first time on a plane!!!!  I was hooked.  Since that trip I have visited Fiji, Jamaica, Mexico, China and France and continue to travel every chance I get.  I've designed World Art to introduce kids to the cultures and native art of other countries.  This semester we are studying Mexico, Australia, France and Japan.  This class is very hands on and we are creating a lot of art projects (check them out at the Art Show in May!). 
*For Mexico we have done/will do tin art (hojalata), sun/moon foil art with weaving, Frida Kahlo inspired shadow box, Frida Kahlo (Mexican artist) portrait, papel picado (cut tissue paper banner), Ojo de Dios (woven God's eye), Panama molas (paper) and sloths.
My goal is to help kids find their creativity and use it to express themselves.  I introduce many new art materials and give my students choice in materials as often as possible.  I do a variety of project types, from guided drawing (to build confidence, teach them to follow directions) to open ended projects.  I find this balance to be beneficial in building creative and confident artists.