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Learning collaboration through art

Five children bent over an art piece inspired by Keith Haring, that they are creatingJunior School students demonstrated their artistic prowess in August with the help of a visiting artist.

Anna Dixon ran collaborative workshops with students and staff as part of her two-day visit, helping learners create displays for their classrooms and corridors.

Anna has taught art for many years as a primary school teacher and director of a children’s art school. She has exhibited around New Zealand and now works with OfficeMax to support art education throughout New Zealand.

As part of her visit with the Junior School, Anna worked with classes to create collaborative artworks based on the work of Keith Haring and Reuben Paterson. Every class had their own workshop and then groups combined to created larger art pieces.

Year 1 teacher Diane Campbell-Ward says the visit aligned with the Primary Years Programme transdisciplinary unit “How We Express Ourselves”.

“Students reflected on how other artists express themselves, looking closely at both Keith Haring’s and Reuben Paterson’s styles,” she says.

To create their Keith Haring piece, students first posed as different figures to learn how their bodies moved and made shapes before translating these into their drawings. They then cut their figures out to create one large art piece, which features a Keith Haring inspired silhouette representing each Junior School student.

Junior School staff also had the chance to learn from Anna in a special professional development session.

“Staff worked with Anna after school in a STEAM workshop,” Diane says.

“Anna explored ways we can put the ‘A’ into STEAM. This included abstract art using the Fibonaccisequence, the science behind marbling, creating circuits to use in artworks and using fractions when creating Mondrian artworks.”

The art pieces are now hanging in the Junior School corridor and outside the Year 6 classrooms.