GALA Visit!

As I started my second week of being full time at Art House I made it my mission to visit all the schools we work with in the Fall. Starting with GALA (Global Ambassadors Language Academy). We have been doing after school programing with GALA for 4 years in partnership with Bellaire Puritas CD. Starting when the school opened with their first year Kindergarteners we have provided engaging programing through their after school Art Club.

Meri Ruble has been a teaching artist thru Art House for GALA the last 3 years. The kids love her, and the staff calls her, a joy to work with. I visited the school on the first day of her residency October 29th. She opened the lesson with introducing herself and then asking the 16 students to introduce themselves.

After the introduction Meri pulled out a book “Fish is Fish” and began to read to the class. The book was filled with oil pastel illustrations about how a fish, friends with a tadpole turned frog wanted to see the outside world. The frog would tell stories of the people and animals he saw while out adventuring on land. The illustrator had drawn the fish’s imagination on what those people and animals would look like; of course they all looked like fish since he was fish. So there was a cow fish, people fish and bird fish! The kids really got a kick out of the different kinds of fish and Meri had a great story telling voice which kept everyone engaged.

After the story ended Meri gave a closer look at the some of the imaginary animals that the fish had thought up. The illustrations and content would inspire their project. Meri brought out a couple of sets of oil pastels and black paper. She then gave a great intro to oil pastels and how to layer, blend and shade using different techniques.

Now the main event starts: the students get to design their own imaginary fish! So they mixed unicorns and fish, dragons and fish, ghosts and fish even a pumpkin fish! One of the students Kenneth made a rocket fish and a spider fish!

The students were excited and they had a lot of time to work on this project so Meri was continuously encouraging them to keep working for the rest of the time. The group was a mix from Kindergarten to 3rd grade so attention levels were diverse. This did not dissuade Meri who then proceeded to ask, “If they could draw where the fish lives” this sparked the creativity again for the students who made water, seaweed and one little girl made mountains in her ocean.

Over all the students were thrilled with what they had done and many continued to say, “They could not wait to show their mom!” It was great to visit GALA and hope to do so again before winter.

Thanks Meri, Bellaire Puritas and GALA for helping Art House provide excellent arts in education programming


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Our mission is to inspire exploration and expression through the visual arts. By fulfilling this mission, Art House stabilizes our neighborhood and creates opportunities for artists to thrive. By extension, the organization contributes significantly in the creation of Cleveland as a culturally rich and economically viable destination to live, work and raise a family. 

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