BYU Arts Express 2015: Keynote Speakers
July 30, 2015
We need ‘more creative schools’
August 18, 2015

Arts Fusion Reflections by Kirsten Anderson

Southern Utah University

The first day of the Arts Fusion camp was very informative and effective on getting us to stop, look, and listen to the world around us.  First, we went out in nature and looked for patterns found around the SUU cabin.  We noticed sound patterns and recorded them, as well as visual patterns found in trees and other natural objects.  We made a lot of really interesting observations that I never knew about. We found that nature had laws and patterns it was governed by and all of the patterns had a specific purpose.  18892531824_4bad84e69c_kI would love to take the students out on nature walks to find these patterns when they are studying their science core.   Then we came back and drew thumbnail sketches of some of our observations.  I would definitely love to do this with my art students.  They would love to draw from live things they discovered on their own.  It is a way to teach drawing skills intuitively while making a scientific record. I found that whenever we were doing scientific discovery in the camp we drew in conjunction with the activity.


In the action drawing, we were to listen to tribal drum rhythms and move our bodies to the beats and interpret through visual art what we hear.  This could be a good activity with my arts students, however, like some others mentioned, I would have the students move their bodies to the rhythms first as a primer, then allow them 3 colors to use to make their piece of free form art.  I found that I tried to represent the types of tones with colors as I drew.  Some other teachers also suggested tying in the work of Kandinsky and the book, The Noisy Paintbox.  It was a good lesson on trying to make a piece of art look good using the rules of design, while trying to be free and loose.  This is hard on the brain using both sides.

18892440134_2f277c5690_kLater in the day we learned about rhythm awareness with Matthew Marsolek.  It was very informative, active, and fun.  I enjoyed how he taught that you should vocalize the sounds first before you use your hand to make the sound on the drum.  I enjoyed to rhythms that we played.  I would like to use this in my teaching in a few different ways. I thought that it would work well as an attention activity at the beginning or end of a lesson.  Focus is needed to perform this particular activity, and if we didn’t have drums we could use a pencil and desk or hands on knees or any other found object we had.  The students would love to make different rhythms in this way.

The next day we talked a lot about biological organisms found around and in a pond.  We looked at them closely and drew them first as they are and then in a nonsensical way.  This was a very fun activity that I think my students would enjoy when learning about insects in the 2nd grade.  It is a good way to introduce cartooning.  I think the students would enjoy studying the live bugs before drawing them as well.


Then we went on a nature hike at the kids pond while making an event map.  I enjoyed this activity and think the students would enjoy it as well.  I thought this would be great when the 5th graders go to Bryce Canyon on a hike.  I love the idea of documenting what they see and drawing.  It is a great way to practice drawing skills while getting them used to see detail and value while in nature. I loved Hannah Hinchman’s examples and laid back approach to this.  I found that just about everyone had a visual artist inside of them.  I have also seen this approach used with remembering history facts for example or stories.  So while the students learn about a subject you want them to remember they should draw pictures to help them remember the event in question.  This was also a great activity to get us to slow down and notice all the billions of other things that are living and doing miraculous things while we lounge about the pond.


The last activity was more drumming by Matthew.  I loved the activity where we closed our eyes and do a drum wave.  This activity was very awesome and taught me that you are intuitive and our arms can just feel when the right time is to perform based on sound and physical vibrations around you.  I could see the motion even though my eyes were closed.  I think the students would love this activity and I may use it with the 5th graders when they talk about electricity and currents. You could have them make a circuit with their bodies and have parts where you have to cap it off and they have to take the electricity back through.  I think I would also use the current drumming and different water sounds when talking about the water cycle with the 4th graders.  I would love to make drums with my students since we will not have the use of the African drums.

I had a very enjoyable time at the camp and feel like it was a great success full of great information and ideas.  I really appreciate all the time and energies that were put in to make it a success.  Thank you so much!

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