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Sharlene Cline, Artist in Schools at Soldotna Elementary, April 2023

Homer painter Sharlene Cline, describes her residency, April 17-28,2 023

“My aim was to teach layering which is not usually found in schools until high school. Resist painting was next, with painter’s tape. Texture followed, with paste paper using nontraditional tools like thin set trowels, toy car wheels, stamps, etc. Finally, students caught up on unfinished projects, made their own journals using their paste paper as covers and binding them with a two-hole punch, rubber band and twigs, and if time allotted smush paint symmetry paintings.  I started each day with a simple demonstration but did not show variations. Students discovered technique variations on their own and excitedly shared them with their peers. Students and faculty were all pleasantly surprised at the beauty of their creations and were especially proud of their journals. During my second week, students were eager to start the projects they heard about from friends and siblings who participated during the first week. As Soldotna Elementary does not have an art room, the biggest AIS challenge was logistics of a mobile art cart which was eased by everyone’s enthusiasm and helpfulness.  I would quickly push my art cart from one end of the building to the other, had students help me set up the day’s project, teach, had students help me clean up, reload my cart and fly to the next class for six classes a day. The lesson’s challenge was walking the fine line between freedom and chaos. From previous AIS process art experience, I navigated the line with clear guidelines like paint flicking is OK if it stays on your paper and no painting hands or body parts as previously that got out of hand. Only in one class was the line crossed, but the teacher and I checked in with each other and agreed to the messy experimentation, as her smaller class had several students with IEPs who usually did not engage but were so excited to experiment.”

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