A semester of art with Kindergarteners at Powder Springs

This is a guest post from Paint Love artist, Dani Frank, about her semester teaching weekly art lessons to kindergarteners at Powder Springs Elementary School. Dani dedicated over 20 hours of her time to serving students in 2017! 
Regarding their experience working with Paint Love, the classroom teachers said their students, "learned to persevere during difficulty and that there is not an exact right or wrong way to do an art piece." 

This fall, I had the privilege of working with Powder Springs Elementary School as a lead artist with Paint Love. When I was first introduced to Paint Love, I realized that my favorite part about this nonprofit was the way each artist was able to fit a meaning into each projects. These meaningful projects provided ways for the kids to connect to positive messages while exploring their creative side and having fun.

October was all about being a good citizen, emphasizing that good citizenship starts with them, as well as where and how they can be good citizens. Our first two projects, “Tape resistant name art” and “Happy hands,” started with how good things start with them and creating art that was a reflection of each child as an individual. Everyone’s name and hands are special-  with your name being how people interact with you and how your hands are unique to yourself and match no one else’s. To demonstrate this, with the tape resistant name art, we painted over our name created from tape. After we were done painting, we removed the tape and our names shined through!

Our happy hand project created a mosaic in the outline of their hand to represent their unique shape, and the mosaic represented everyone’s unique fingerprints. With our “Where you can be a good citizen wheel,”,we cut out a house and then increasingly larger circles to represent the different parts of our world we can be good citizens starting from our homes all the way to our entire planet! Our final good citizen project was our “Paper portrait with words around”, in which we created self-portraits and surrounded ourselves with positive words that represented ways we are able to be good citizens.

November represented night and day, times of light and darkness from which we can find positivity and exploration in both! Our “Night and day plate” project focused on the technical aspect of shading in addition to creating beautiful skies. When creating the night and day skies, the kids used the same color crayon and practiced shading by pressing down lightly for the day and pressing down with more force for the night sky. When decorating the skies, we used shiny materials for the night to represent the positive light in the darkness and bright yellow for the sun and fluffy white clouds for the day side. This project brought up how big the sky is and how much there is to explore and appreciate about it.

Our other November project was a Sun Catcher where we used colorful pieces of tissue paper to fill a square space. In order to connect the pieces of tissue paper, we overlapped the edges and connected the pieces to a wooden frame made of oversized popsicle sticks. The students were able to place these on the windows so that when the sun shined through, it would illuminate the beautiful variety of colors. This creates a colorful space that helps lighten up a room and keeps a positive and happy environment!

In our final month of December, we focused on two major holidays, Hanukah and Christmas. This topic opened up the floor in order to talk about diversity. Many of the children were familiar with Christmas, but had not heard of Hanukah before. This opened their eyes to the idea that there are people with different backgrounds and beliefs than themselves, and that diversity is a good thing to be celebrated!

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Our project for Hanukah was “Paper plate menorahs."  We cut paper plates in half and decorated them with 8 small candles, one large candle in the middle, and colored them with crayons. This was the first time many of them had ever heard of a menorah, yet alone seen or created one!

For our Christmas project, we created “Yarn Christmas trees." We wound green yarn around triangular shapes made of popsicle sticks until they were covered. After the yarn was secured, we used a variety of supplies to decorate the trees with pom poms, tiny bells, and pipe cleaners to represent ornaments, lights, and the star on top!

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The kids had so much fun with all these projects and it hopefully opened their eyes to their creative sides that they may not have explored previously. Art with a message is also a fun way to have important discussions while keeping the conversation light hearted and relatable to kids. I’m looking forward to working with even more kids in the future and bringing Paint Love to more schools!

A Letter from Executive Director, Julie McKevitt

Paint Love All Year

Happy New Year!

I am so grateful for our amazing community that surrounded Paint Love with unwavering support in 2017. You actively engaged this year unlike any other—and you not only saved us from potentially closing our doors, but brought us to our most successful financial year ever. 

Together, you gave over $80,000 to Paint Love. You showed up on over 100 different days this year, volunteering 879 hours to bring transformational art programs to youth facing poverty or trauma.

It is this generous community that determined our capacity in 2017—allowing us to reach 23 organizations and more than 2,300 students. It is also this community that has given us the hope to dream big for 2018—setting a goal to reach 30 organizations and serve more than 3,000 students.

This year, I want to ensure that Paint Love has the foundation it needs to continue thriving. With two staff members, we have reached our capacity with about 100 art programs per year, but we know Atlanta and the cities and states beyond our reach are asking for much more. 

Will you help us raise the bar on the capacity for Paint Love? 

We want to reach our first six-figure year in fundraising and raise over $100,000 in 2018.

We need people involved at every level of giving and volunteering. Whether you give $10 this upcoming year or $10,000, whether you volunteer 1 hour or over 100 (yes, it's been done!)...we welcome you. We NEED you. 

We don't just need you to work and donate toward our programs, we need you on our planning committees, sitting on our board, training our volunteers, bringing in supplies, and sharing about the transformational work we do. 

Will you help us continue to grow and Paint Love All Year?

I love this community and getting to serve and work beside you is a continual joy. Your investment has given Paint Love an amazing reputation in Atlanta and has driven the demand for our programs.
 
If you are interested in helping, will you take one minute and make a financial donation here and/or fill out our volunteer interest form for 2018?

Thank you,

 
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Julie McKevitt
Founder and Executive Director
Paint Love
julie@gopaintlove.org

iPhone Photography with Blueprint 58

iPhone photography, photography with kids

Tim Merritt has been around the Paint Love community for a while thanks to his wife, Paint Love veteran artist Ellen Gadberry but this is his first time as a lead artist himself! Tim says, "I'd like to help people better understand the terrific cameras they carry every day in their smartphones. Unprecedented numbers of people carry these great cameras with them all the time! I want to help them express their vision with great photographs."  Tim worked with the teens from Blueprint 58, a mentoring program in the Adair Park neighborhood. The kids learned all about perspective, angle, and even how to get that perfect pic with a selfie stick! They put their new skills to use throughout the neighborhood and with friends.  

After the event, leaders from Blueprint 58 wrote, 

Paint Love is an organization that Blueprint has worked with a few times and we keep coming back because they make planning events simple! It is a relief knowing that once we have rounded up our group we can relax and interact with our kids during the event instead of having to be the organizer of every aspect. We love that our group has the chance to try new artistic activities with Paint Love that they may not have the chance to do anywhere else. We have had kids walk away from an event excited to try out the new skill they learn, and that is a cool thing to witness.
For example, during the event, Tim was talking with two of our middle school girls about the pictures they had taken, and he described what a great camera angle one of the girls had used and how that completely changed how the picture looked. As he was saying this, she smiled and looked really accomplished and proud of what she had done. As a group leader, this is the kind of thing I look for at events. I want our kids to feel encouraged and empowered and it was great to see that happen at this event.
Our two middle school girls who attended the photography session with Tim left excited to start taking more photos and working on their vlog, and our high school student who attended left having learned some more techniques for his photography. It is great to see our students excited about new activities and learning new skills.