The MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology held a special exhibit Thursday night. It did not feature works by Monet or Picasso, but it did feature the creations of 74 students in Unit C, fourth and fifth grades, at Columbia’s Ridgeway Elementary.
Over the past few months, these students wrote and constructed their own handmade books, which were displayed for one night in the cast gallery of Pickard Hall.
Last night those in attendance could also view a slide show of the bookmaking process, while the student authors took their parents on a tour of the museum’s exhibit, “The Art of the Book: Illustration and Design, 1650 to Present.”
William Fandek in Shari Lawson’s class wrote “The Life of a Snow Leopard.” This endangered species, he said, is his favorite animal. Mallory Bolerjack also wrote about her favorite animal in her book “How to Take Care of a Dog.”
Greg Colman, a Unit C teacher, was present to see his students’ final products. He plans on grading his students for effort because he wants the program’s emphasis to be on the student’s “sense of accomplishment.”
These books are part of Ridgeway’s “The Written Word, The Illustrated Word” arts education program, funded by the Ridgeway Parent-Student-Teacher Association and one of three National PTA Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Art Enhancement Grants awarded nationwide earlier this year. This grant, co-written by Julie Chatman and Marilyn Cummins, also allowed all Ridgeway students to meet children’s book author and former Ridgeway student Dar Hosta. They also took a tour of the Missourian newsroom as well as the MU Anthropology, and Art and Archaeology museums. Students in Ridgeway’s Units A and B, kindergarten through third grade, made one book in each classroom.
Chatman, a graduate student in art education and parent of a Ridgeway graduate, had two main goals for the use of the grant money she helped obtain.
“I wanted to get more art into the school,” she said, “and I wanted to get them (students) into the art museum to see real artwork.”