Ellen Balzer » ART K, 1st grade & Middle School: Women in Art (fall) and World Art (spring)

ART K, 1st grade & Middle School: Women in Art (fall) and World Art (spring)

"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 middle school art elective classes of World Art and Women in Art.  This is my second 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 to IACS (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.  I am MISSING traveling so much these days!  I've designed World Art to introduce kids to the cultures and native art of other countries.  Last year we studied Mexico and Australia.  
*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.
WOMEN IN ART- This semester I am so thrilled to be teaching kids about female artists.  We will be studying famous artists such as Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Georgia O'Keefe (US), Mary Blair (US, Disney artist) as well as lesser known artists like Esther Mahlangu (South Africa), Alma Thomas (US), and Kenojuak Ashevak (Canada).  Students will create artwork inspired by these incredible women while also learning about their background and heritage.  I can't wait to start making art with students again!
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.