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Exhibit exposes Challenger K8 kids to math, science behind art

SPRING HILL — A Teacher's Discovery Traveling Exhibit made its way to Challenger K8 last week, covering the school's mall area with huge reproductions of masters' works.

At a reception on Feb. 22, students and guests viewed the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Frida Kahlo, Katsushika Hokusai, Vincent van Gogh, Antoni Gaudi, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Frederic Remington, M.C. Escher and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

As an example of the sizes of these cloth images, the van Gogh exhibit, consisting of the artist's portrait and his Starry Night, was 7 by 17 feet.

The exhibit came to Challenger through the efforts of elementary school art teacher and yearbook advisor Kim Paff. She heard about the Teacher's Discovery traveling exhibits and knew she would like to have it at her school.

But it is costly. Paff applied for a community cultural outreach grant that she learned about on a Target department store Web site, and won one for $3,000.

The grant covered the cost of renting the exhibit, the costs of the opening night reception and art activities for children, parents and other community members.

There were six activities that focused on six artists. At the Hokusai painting The Great Wave off Kanagawa, visitors were introduced to the Japanese wood block printing he mastered. Participants used plastic foam trays donated by Publix to carve designs, paint over them and press them onto paper.

Wanting to work a little math into the festivities, Paff had the assistance of middle school math teacher Marilyn Schaeffer, who stood in front of M.C. Escher's works to help visitors create tessellations.

A tessellation, said Schaeffer, is "a shape that fits together (with others) in a way that will cover a surface with no gaps or no overlays." She had shapes illustrating Escher's technique for visitors to put together.

Paff pointed out that besides art, the school wanted to tie math and science concepts into the exhibit. Challenger K8 is the school of science and mathematics and, Paff said, "The art that we've chosen here has a lot to do with math and science."

Another activity was led by Gary Kimble, who teaches forensics and facial reconstruction to middle school students. He was stationed near a reproduction of Michelangelo's work, and Kimble coached those who wanted to attempt sculpting.

Equipped with bars of soap and wooden sticks, participants carved and listened to Kimble describe how Michelangelo sculpted.

Paff gave all who helped plenty of credit. "I'm so lucky," she said. "I had such a great group of parents and volunteers."

Exhibit exposes Challenger K8 kids to math, science behind art 03/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 9:38pm]
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