art and diversity

You probably have noticed school supplies on sale everywhere and it's nearly time for me to order supplies for the art room! This reminded me of something surprising I came across with the last batch of art supplies that still resonates with me. I ordered Sax Paint for our 6th grade diversity project and discovered that unfortunately the paint labeled flesh wasn't the flesh color for many of my students.

We discussed this quite a bit and decided to write the manufacturer/seller a letter and document the process. You can read a portion of our letter and the response we got below. Meanwhile, the students became expert skin tone paint mixers!

I bought the Sax acrylic paint sets this year for my students to use for self portraits. Included in the set is a paint tube color labeled flesh. The problem is that it's not actually the flesh color for all of our students. We enjoy a diverse population of students at our school and my students were curious why this would be labeled as a flesh color when it isn't the flesh color for so many of us. The students thought that perhaps a more appropriate name for the paint might be peach!

Thank you for your consideration. I know my students would love to get a response back soon before the school year ends.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I can promise you we meant no disrespect. I am contacting our supplier to see if we can have the name changed on our next production run and I will be updating our digitized catalog and website.

This upcoming year we are very fortunate to be working with some high quality Golden Open acrylic paint (love this stuff!) generously donated by Artmart, a Saint Louis art supply store. Check them out if you haven't made a visit yet, they do wonderful community work and shopping there will make you feel like a kid in a candy store!


second grade fireworks

We had a lovely time at our neighborhood 4th of July celebration last night and it reminded me of a fireworks inspired project from our second grade artists earlier in the year.

We took a look at the art of Cai Guo-Qiang, a contemporary artist from China. His signature art is based on “explosion events” that use gun powder as a drawing tool. The second graders observed that he is interested in things that are both beautiful and ugly/dangerous at the same time.

Cai is the artist that choreographed the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony fireworks show. His art inspired the second grade artists to make their own fireworks using the design elements of line and color. They made a mark of their choice and then repeated it concentrically while overlapping designs. I always enjoy watching them approach this algorithm in their own unique way. Enjoy the fireworks!