Fourth Grade Nature Paintings
In the spring of 2018 MacRostie Art Center and ISD #318 partnered on a residency that brought teaching artists into fourth grade classrooms to work with students in Grand Rapids and Cohasset on public art projects. Local artist Lea Friesen worked with the students to create murals of northern Minnesota wildlife.
The paintings are made up of a number of individual 2’x2’ panels, each painted by a pair of students. Each panel included only part of a larger image of an animal, like the foot, ears, or eye. The students worked independently, so when the panels were combined like a puzzle the final image was a colorful surprise to everyone. This made for a playful and unexpected look at the familiar wildlife of our region.
The project created a pathway for the students to expand their ideas of what is correct and “good” as it relates to art making and learning. It is the unanticipated nature of the process that makes the compositions energetic and playful, which also let the students push the boundaries of creativity and realization.
This project is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.