Village Parent Volunteers Making Art Happen

The Village Elementary PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) is busy preparing for the 3rd Annual Family Arts Night on Thursday, May 23rd. This Artwalk event celebrates visual art for every student TK-5th grade. It started with the PTO purchase of the Meet the Masters Art Education Program when funding for the art teacher was lost. The program features seven master artists for each grade level, such as Monet, Warhol, Chagall, O’Keefe and Miro. Each lesson introduces art history through the lives and experiences of the artist, in addition to his or her works of art. There are a series of slides and written scripts pertaining to each artist. After seeing the slides students create artwork influenced by that master artist. Students retain and remember these artists in so many different ways. One student, a year after learning about Picasso in first grade said told her mom, “It just feels like I am in Picasso’s blue period” after an argument with her brother!

Cyndi Fuhrmann started facilitating Meet the Masters (MTM) parent volunteers three years ago. Most parents had little or no art experience, but the program is designed with step by step directions and a teaching video to make the lessons as accessible for anyone who wants to do it. Cyndi started with around 10 volunteers, but over the past two years has trained over 100 incredible parents who spend their time and energy prepping, assisting and even teaching the art lessons at Village Elementary alongside the amazing staff. All have welcomed the “Art Army” as fondly nicknamed by Tanya White the vice principal. These moms, dads and grandparents believe that art matters and they are making it happen.

Cyndi is now employed by the district as the as the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teacher through the Coronado School Foundation (CSF) and a four year DoDEA Arts Grant. Cyndi teaches discrete arts skills in visual art, dance, music and theater to all students at Village Elementary. While she still oversees the MTM program, it is truly the amazing and dedicated MTM parent volunteers that come in month after month to support the teachers and help bring appreciation of the lives and works of master artists into our classrooms.

Family Arts Night is a community event which transforms the Village elementary campus into a beautiful and vibrant Artwalk. Each student chooses one piece of MTM or VAPA artwork he or she has created throughout the year from his or her art portfolio. Parent volunteers are currently dedicating their time to mount and label each piece of artwork in preparation to hang all 850+ pieces of art around the school for this event. The annual celebration of our talented young artists in Coronado is flourishing. The team of parent volunteers making this happen is growing every year. This event could not happen without them. Principal Heidi Bergener is thrilled and excited to attend this year (her first year as our principal) along with members of the school board and Coronado Arts Commission.

The community is welcome to join the celebration Thursday, May 23rd 4:30-6:30pm, entrance through the gate on H street.

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Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com