ART BLOG!

April 10, 2017
Let the painting begin... Middle school students got their hands dirty and had a lot of fun working on the back drop for High School Musical.  Don't miss Opening Night on Friday, April 21st.



April 7, 2017
Art moves to the great outdoors! Fourth grades took advantage of our beautiful weather took make art in the Tree Lab this week.  Inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy, the students made ephemeral sculptures with natural objects.

Click here to see Andy Goldsworthy working



March 8, 2017
James Castle grew up on his family farm in rural Idaho.  Born deaf in 1899,  he did not have access to traditional education.  He loved to make art inspired by his rural surroundings.  Castle used soot from the wood stove as a drawing media and created art using found papers including cardboard, envelops, etc.  First and second grade students used found papers and oil pastels to create collages inspired by Castle’s work.

Click here to see James Castle's work



March 3, 2017
What's black and white and a whole lot of fun?  Tonal printmaking.  Inspired by Dox Trash, head of the WPA fine art printmaking workshop here in Philadelphia in the 1930s, the third and fourth grades rolled ink and transformed their sketches into prints.  Some of Dox Thrash's most famous prints show people working.  The students thought about jobs they might like to have when they grow up and about jobs they think are important to the community as they made their prints.



February 17, 2017

The walls are art!  Our fourth grades are working together to create one-of-a-kind wallpaper for the tutoring room next to their classrooms.  The students embarked on the project with our new student teacher, Patrick Hargraves, who introduced them to botanical drawing and textile design.  To get started, students drew fruits, veggies, and flowers from the pages of a colorful seed catalog.  Then they worked in small groups to design a background.  Our finished design will be printed on a giant printer and repeated to go around the perimeter of the room.




February 1, 2017
Philadelphia's Magic Garden inspired third and fourth grade's work with mosaic.  The students discussed Isaiah Zagar's quote"Art is the Center of the Real World," which appears in several of his mosaics, and crafted messages that held special meaning for them.

Click Here to see what's happening at the Magic Garden



January 19, 2017
First and second grades visited the Barnes Foundation this week.  The students saw paintings by many of the artists we have been learning about in class, like Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Paul Cezanne, in real life.  Our museum educators taught us how to identify an Impressionist painting using ELBOW (Everyday, Light, Brushstrokes, Outdoors, and Water).   No photography is allowed inside the museum, but Peale's class stopped for a quick pic on their way back to the bus.  By the way, did you know that visiting the Barnes is free on the first Sunday of every month?


January 5, 2016
This morning our 5th and 6th graders took cameras all over our campus to document the Greene Street Friends School experience as part of a unit on photography.   To get ready for this assignment the students looked together at iconic photographs by Lewis Hines and Tina Modeti and thought about about composition.  We focused on the question of how what you choose to include (or not include) in your photograph is important to the message you are trying to convey.     Thank you to all of my fellow teachers who welcomed student photographers into their classrooms!

Click Here to See the Full Gallery of Photos



December 14, 2016
The Brandywine River Museum, in Chadsford Pennsylvania, is home to an extensive collection of paintings by the Wyeth family.  The museum also gives tours of the nearby studio of Andrew Wyeth.  His still life painting, Frostbitten, inspired the third and fourth grades work with observational drawing, as they looked closely at a still life  here in the classroom.

Click Here to see paintings by Andrew Wyeth


December 2, 2016

Animator, Adam Pesapane aka “PES” gives ordinary household objects new life in his extraordinarily clever animated shorts.   Watching PES’ The Deep, fifth and sixth grades saw a castoff hardware transformed into an underwater world.   The students talked about the different kinds of movement they saw and then tried their own hands at object animation using iMotion. 



November 21, 2016
Photographer, Annie Leibovitz helps her celebrity models to feel comfortable in front of the camera and captures uniquely expressive portraits.   In the most recent exhibition of her work, Women:New Portraits, housed in New York City's former Bayview Correctional Facility, Leibovitz shows us images of strong women who are changing the world.  Students were introduced to a survey of her work and challenged to play the role of both photographer and model.

Click here for tips on how to take a great photo



November 17, 2016

Tanzania is home to the Africa's highest point, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and its deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika.  With biomes ranging from grass savannas to forest tundra, Tanzania is also home to an incredibly diverse number of animal species.  Fifth and sixth grade students visited the African Wildlife Foundation website to research animals that interested them.  Then inspired by TingaTinga, a fanciful tradition of painting begun by Tanzanian artist Edward Tingatinga in the 1960s, each student painted their animal in its natural habitat. 

Click here to visit the African Wildlife Fund Website



October 28, 2016
A scientist as well as an artist, Leonardo da Vinci was an avid inventor.  His sketch book contained plans for a scuba diving suit, a parachute, and a flying machine - all ideas well before their time.  Inspired by his work, Unified Arts students are crafting their own inventions in clay.

Click Here to Learn More About Leonardo Da Vinci's Inventions



October 26, 2016
When hot wax is applied to fabric it resists dye in the process known as Batik.  Inspired by the fashions made by African designers of Vlisco Batiks, that we saw at the art museum, fifth and sixth grade students experimented with Batik, using white glue as a resist.  Along the way the students learned about several traditional African textiles including Adire cloth from Nigeria, Adinkra cloth from Ghana, and Mudcloth from Mali. 

Click Here to make your own virtual Mudcloth



October 15, 2016
Pottery that tells stories.  Third and fourth grades have been learning about red and black figure ware from ancient Greece.  Students combined a number of hand-building techniques to create their own amphora.

Click Here to Decorate your own Amphora



October 8, 2016
Architect Francis Kere designs buildings for building community in his native Burkina Faso.  Fifth and sixth grades were introduced to his work on or trip to the art museum and we have learned more about his projects, the Gando School and Library, here in the art room.  The students designed their own buildings and crafted them in clay.

Click here to see how bricks are made with people power


September 15, 2016
Power figures, reliquary, photography, traditional textiles and contemporary fashion design - The fifth and sixth grades traveled to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Creative Africa!  We were greeted on the steps of the Perelman building by our amazing museum educators, who helped us to look closely and make connections as we wove our way through the five rooms of the exhibition.  After the show we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the little park across the street from the museum.

Click Here to See Highlights of the Exhibition



September 14, 2016
The Parthenon was built to be a temple to the goddess Athena, the protector of Athens.  Today it remains a symbol of democracy and many important buildings are modeled after it, including our own Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Third and fourth grades are learning about the Parthenon and the stories of it's sculptures.  Their assignment is to design a building that serves an important function in their community.



September 9, 2016

Inspired by bronze castings from the ancient African city of Benin (now Nigeria), fifth and sixth grade students are working with metal.  We can’t pour molten bronze in the art room, but we see the process on You Tube!  The students are using a embossing technique to make images that are special to them.

Click here to see a bronze pour




June 10, 2016
See tables and stools move by themselves.  See students fly through the air on the last day of school!  6th Grade experimented with stop motion animation inspired by PES' Human Skateboard

Click here to be amazed by the 6th Grade Pixelations


May 25, 2016
Gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing, was developed more than a century ago as a way of recording the size and species of fish.  Freshly caught fish were painted with a non-toxic ink.  A sheet of rice paper was then carefully smoothed over the fish.  When the paper was removed it showed an exact copy of the fish.  Because the ink was non-toxic, the fish could then be washed and prepared for a meal. So, Japanese fishermen were able to both record and eat their catch.  Fifth and sixth grades tried their hand at printing with rubber fish.  When their prints were dry, the students had the opportunity to embellish their prints with a variety of media.

Click here to meet a contemporary Gyotaku artist



May 12, 2016
An ancient Japanese tradition teaches that if you make a thousand origami cranes you will be granted a wish.  Fifth and sixth grades made origami to bring good luck to our Spring Concert.

Click here to make an origami crane at home

April 29, 2016
Contemporary artist, Kehinde Wiley, paints young black men and women, entwined in floral imagery, on huge canvases.  His models pose in the same positions as people in historical portraits.  Wiley's work is at once stunningly beautiful and an invitation for us to think about the constructs of wealth and power, throughout history and in our society today.  Inspired by Wiley's paintings, our students struck confident poses before the camera and used these photos to create expressive self-portraits.

Click here to hear Wiley tell about his work at the Brooklyn Museum



April 13, 2016
The Burka Avenger is Pakistan's superhero in the fight for education.  She tells television viewers of all ages, "If you want to be successful, make books and pens your best friends."  A mild mannered school teacher by day and burka clad heroine in times of need, her favored weapon is inner peace - though she also throws the occasional well-aimed book.   Fifth and sixth grade students discussed the roles of violence and empowerment in comics and superhero stories.  We looked at Japan's Astro Boy, India's Vimanika Comics, Pakistan's Burka Avenger and our own Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel.  The students' assignment was to create a superhero that solves a real world problem, peacefully.

Click Here to watch the Burka Avenger: Episode 1


April 7, 2016
Fourth grade rounded out their unit on Native American art by learning about the potters of Mata Ortiz.  Famous around the world for their beautiful pottery, the people there were once very poor.  An man named Juan Quezada taught himself to make pottery in the way of the ancient Paquime Indians.  He in turn taught his village.  The class learned to use coils to hand build pots in the same way potters have been working for centuries.

Click here to watch The Ballad of Juan Quezada


April 2, 2016
Lush grass, giant boulders, and a sunset on the Savannah - Set building for the Lion King has begun! 



February 25, 2016
Japanese Noh theater inspired sixth grader students as they made masks with clay.  Noh masks are designed so that actors can show changing emotions by tilting their heads at different angles.  The students talked about how faces show emotion as they worked.

Click here to watch a noh performance


February 18, 2016
Artist Pedro Linares began creating  fantastical creatures in wood and paper mache, in the 1930s.  He called them Alebriges, a nonsensical word that came to him in a dream.  Now a folk art tradition, these larger than life creations are celebrated in Mexico City's annual Alebriges parade.  First and second grades used a variety of materials to craft their own creatures.

Click here to catch a glimpse of the Alebriges parade


January 31, 2016
A grand time was had by all at the All School Art Show on Saturday.  Every student in the whole school had a piece on display!  In addition to checking out the artwork, attendees were treated to a special pottery demonstration by Cornelia Kietzman.

Click Here to Decorate your own Greek Amphora



January 6, 2016
Four third grade students traveled to Girard College today to represent their class at the Martin Luther King Jr.  Day of Service Mural Celebration.  We were joined by students from five other schools who also participated in the project.  The finished mural measures 36 feet long and was officially unrolled at the ceremony.

Click here to Paint a Mini Mural



December 11, 2015
Color Mouse by Ellen Walsh tells the story of three fun loving mice who experiment with paint and mix the most beautiful colors.  Their adventures inspired Pre-K students as they mixed green, orange, and purple from the primary colors red, yellow, and blue.

Click here to mix colors with virtual paint



November 24, 2015

The Akan word, Sankofa, translates as “reach back and get it.’  This concept of looking to the past to move forward informs Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s work with fabric, paint, buttons, twigs, and  “Hogmawg,” a mixture of mud, dyes and glue.  A life-long resident of Columbus Ohio, Robinson looked to her family traditions and history to create her work.  In this spirit, fourth grade students are making mixed media books that tell a family story.

Click here to make your own virtual “Hogmawg”



November 20, 2015
Each year Global Citizen and Mural Arts partner with several schools to create a collaborative mural to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.  This year Greene Street was selected to be one of the schools!  Third grade students are learning about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott as they work with mural artists Lauren Donnellan and Elise Stewart to design a mural.  The mural will be presented at historic Girard College in North Philadelphia on Jan. 6, 2016 at 9:45 am.  All students and their families are invited to attend.

Click here to learn the true story of Rosa Parks


November 12, 2015
Tibetan Buddhist monks make mandalas with colored sand.  A mandala takes many, many hours to complete and when it is finished the monks ritually destroy the mandala and pour the sand into a body of water to send a blessing to the world.  The process of making, accompanied by prayers, chants, and teachings is more important than the finished piece.  Fifth and sixth grade students tried to bring some of this same mindfulness to their work as they made paper mandalas.

Click here to see the Dalai Lama lead monks in making a mandala



November 4, 2015
Pablo Picasso loved to make pottery, but not the everyday kind of pottery that you might use for eating.  He turned regular wheel-thrown ceramic forms into interesting creatures.  Inspired by his work, first and second grades made their own creations with clay.

Click here to see Pablo Picasso working in his pottery studio



October 20, 2015
If you take a walk around in center city Philadelphia, there is a good chance you might see Pop Artists Claus Oldenburg and Coosie van Bruggen's giant clothespin and paintbrush.  These monumental sculptures inspired third grade's work with clay.  The students were challenged to think about ordinary objects in a whole new way as they created their own hand-built pieces.

Click Here to watch a museum crew assemble oldenburg's giant BLT



October 12, 2015
Unified Arts students visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art this week to learn more about the Harlem Renaissance.  To give us a full picture of the era, our museum guides introduced us to paintings and sculptures both by African American artists working at the time and those who came before them, like Henry Owassa Tanner whose work The Annunciation in pictured below.  After a morning of intense discussion we picnicked on the museum steps.


October 8, 2015
Collage artist Romare Bearden moved to Harlem with his family in 1914 and grew up amid the music, writing, and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance.  Many of his works are inspired by his childhood memories of living in the city and of staying with his grandparents in North Carolina and Pittsburg.  Inspired by Bearden's work, Unified Arts students used Photoshop to make collages that tell the stories of their own family traditions. 

Click Here to Walk 'The Block' with Romare Bearden



October 2, 2015
During the 11 years that they were married, Pablo Picasso created over 400 pictures of his wife Jacqueline Roque.  First and second grade students compared two of these works, a realistic charcoal sketch and a very cubist painting.  The students then painted portraits of people who were special to them.

Click here to Have fun with 'Picasso Head'


September 24, 2015
POP!  Third and fourth grades are learning all about Pop Art.  The students thought about color and line as they looked at Roy Lichtenstein's Varoom.  Then they used Tux Paint, a free (and really fun) digital imaging program to make their own 'sound' drawings.

Click Here to Download Tux Paint


September 18, 2015
Three musicians play the violin, a clarinet, and piano together in Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians.  Inspired by his work, first and second grade students used shapes to make pictures.

Click here to try a fun Three Musicians Coloring Activity



September 15, 2015

Completed in 691 CE, the Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock is one of the oldest Islamic Monuments.  At the temple’s heart lies the Foundation Stone, an ancient place that is special to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths.  The Islamic tradition tells the story of Muhammad’s spiritual night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.  There it is said Muhammad met with prophets who came before him and brought back new learning from Allah.  Fifth and sixth grades began a unit on religious art by learning about the Dome of the Rock.  Inspired by the mosaic tessellations that grace the building’s exterior each student designed a clay tile using rotations and reflections of geometric shapes. 

Click herE to Experiment With Shapes