May 14, 2024

Celebrating Another Creative Year of Collaboration with PNC

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Thanks to funding from PNC Foundation through PNC Grow Up Great®, Arts+ has had another amazing year bringing music and visual arts education to local preschools including Charlotte Bilingual, The Learning Collaborative, and Thompson Child Development Center. School Programs Coordinator and Teaching Artist Liz Ojeda is responsible for creating the curriculum, communicating and building partnerships between Arts+ and preschools, and planning, prepping, and teaching art projects to preschool students. "I really adore this program because I get to read and make art with kids!" Liz said.

Combining reading with visual art is the core idea behind this collaboration. Liz introduces an idea to students by reading a picture book, and the students then explore that idea through visual art.

For one project this year, students read Home by Carson Ellis, which taught them about different kinds of homes. They then made their own homes out of shapes that were cut from construction paper, helping them learn about different shapes and where they can see them in the world around them.

Students also read I Like Me by Karen Beaumont, which teaches about personal identity, celebrating differences and encouraging self-esteem. "For the project, I drew a blank face and slipped it into a sheet protector. I brought some small stand mirrors the children could use to identify their features such as their eyes, lips, and mouth. The children could then create their features on the blank face by using model magic playdough and dry erase marker," Liz said. In addition to teaching identity, this project also helped students build fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination.

"As someone who loves the arts and have since I was a child myself, this program is so fun and fulfilling," Liz said.