By Katya Agrawal
In November of 2020, Ella Pascucci ’23 and I conceived of a project that ultimately culminated in our founding of the Tobin Fine Arts club. In this club, we teach kindergarten to fifth grade students from The Tobin School in Roxbury about the fundamentals of drawing and painting. Our goal is to ignite their interest in visual art and to give them a new way of expressing themselves. Art frees one from the need to communicate through words; it enables visual self-expression.
After much preparation, the club officially began in the fall of 2021. In the fall, we planned a curriculum for the students for our winter sessions. In December, we started physically going to Tobin. For the past three months, four to five Winsor students have been going to The Tobin School every Wednesday to share their knowledge of art with about 10 elementary school students. According to Helena Nguyen ’23, “just learning about the kids and connecting with them was fun…it was interesting to hear about their stories. They don’t really filter themselves, and you’re also showing and telling them new things.” In the lesson pictured above, a Winsor student teaches one Tobin student about portrait painting and drawing.
The club was born out of my and Ella’s deep connection to visual art. We both had received an incredible art education at Winsor and we felt obligated to share our deep love and passion for art with students who do not have the same opportunities. In this photo, students hold up portrait drawings. As the kids drew, they learned about proportions and reflected on the question, “What emotions do you feel when you think about yourself and others?”
Here are two pieces of work from our Jackson Pollock inspired lesson. In this lesson, the students learned about an artist and experimented with non-traditional ways of using paint.
Furthermore, we wanted to give elementary school students a tool with which to articulate their COVID experience and feelings of isolation. Here is one piece that a student created as they pondered over the question, “What does being at home all of the time feel like?”
In the end, we hope that our project has given the kids a new voice and has inspired them to adore drawing and painting. According to Ms. Manuela, “I can say that the students love when it’s ‘creative art Wednesday’…I feel like with the art that you guys taught them, it was very helpful with expressing their feelings.”
We held a gallery showcase and celebration at The Tobin School on Wednesday, March 9. Additionally, if you would like to see more of the students’ work, it will be displayed in the Winsor halls after March break!