When Hillsboro Elementary School added a half-time art teacher to the faculty, there was just one problem – there wasn’t a room to hold the class. Luckily, using her creativity, art teacher Mary Moore McLaughlin came up with an alternative. Art in the cart.
McLaughlin stores her art supplies in a closet in the school library and each morning, fills a cart – similar to a dinner cart – with supplies for the day. Each Wednesday, McLaughlin wheels the cart from room-to-room where she teaches the students at the comfort of their own desks.
The school is lucky to have McLaughlin, who has a master’s degree in Art History.
“I worked in museums, and I did teach art in Head Start years ago,” she said. “They were looking for somebody, and I applied.”
Drawing from her expertise on art history and art mediums, McLaughlin leads the students through a world of color, shapes, sizes and creativity.
“Last week we studied [Henri] Matisse’s cutouts,” she said. “There is a big show of his work right now in New York. They started doing that so we have lots of good scraps. This week, we’re going to add magazine cutouts to those scraps and do collage.”
Along with learning about art and mediums, McLaughlin is also teaching the students to utilize their supplies to the fullest. Scraps left over from the Matisse study will be used to make stained-glass window collages in December.
Along with two-dimensional art, the students will learn how to sculpt with clay and other three-dimensional mediums.
The students artwork is on display in the hallways and will be a part of the new art “gallery” at the Pocahontas County Board of Education office. A bulletin board in the board of education conference room is used as a gallery to display artwork by students from all the schools.
“We’re having a show at the school board in February,” McLaughlin said. “Green Bank, Marlinton and Hillsboro are all having shows at the school board.”
Working with students PreK through fifth grade has been interesting for McLau-ghlin, who likes to stand back and watch what they create.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “None of them say ‘I can’t draw.’ They jump right in. They love to make stuff and they love to make a mess. Sometimes, I have pretty structured plans, but I like to do this and see what they come up with.”
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com