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Column: Creativity is valued in District 518 schools

By Kelly Knips, District 518

WORTHINGTON — The creativity continues to flow throughout the art classrooms in District 518. Students are working hard to “think like an artist” with our new curriculum standards this year that explore more in depth thinking while creating art. They are encouraged to include personal meaning into their art.

In October, Mrs. Knips and other teachers took around 60 Prairie Elementary students to Marshall to the Young Artists Conference. Students were able to sign up to go to this conference and hear from keynote speaker Derek Anderson, an author and illustrator in Minneapolis. He read a few of his books, and demonstrated how he started drawing his characters and how they changed throughout the revision process. Students were also able to sign up for three break-out sessions, during which they got to create their own art to take home. It was a great day, and the students had a blast creating art in their sessions.

In November, students at Prairie Elementary took part in an art contest for Veteran’s Day. They learned many facts about the american flag. In second and third grade, students had to create a flag using any medium. They were judged on neatness and accuracy. Third-grader Mara Thier’s project was chosen as a winner for the local level and went on to compete at the district level., where she placed second. In fourth grade, the students had to create a collage of places where they would see the flag. Wai Lin Htwee was chosen as the winner for fourth grade and went on to compete at the district level as well. We are so proud of all of the students and their great work.

During conferences in December, Prairie Elementary had “family art night” and families could stop by the cafeteria and create art. There were six stations set up for the make-and-take style event. It was awesome to see so many families take advantage of this opportunity to make art with each other and see the creativity in action.

The art department is looking forward to this Friday, March 1, as it’s the opening for our district art show. This year, there will be art featured from the middle school, ALC and high school. The open house will run from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Nobles County Art Center, which is located in the basement of the Nobles County Library. Snacks and refreshments will be provided as well as opportunities for conversations with artists of all ages. It is always a fun night, and we encourage you all to come and see the wonderful work our students do. If you are unable to make it to the open house, the show will run throughout the month of March. The Nobles County Art Center is open weekdays from noon to 3 p.m., or you can call 372-8245 to make an appointment.  

It is wonderful to work where creativity is valued and we are able to reach kids in different ways. We will continue to provide ways for students to be involved with art outside of our classrooms with the hopes that they will also see a future with art outside of school. As always, the District 518 art department is thankful for all of the support from our administration and from the community.  

Kelly Knips is an art teacher at Prairie Elementary.