Arts Renaissance in Tuscaloosa Schools

Bringing the arts to Tuscaloosa-area schools.



Encouraging Art

Throughout the last few months, I have been so pleasantly surprised at the students of Matthews Elementary Schools. Working with the Alabama Blues Project has given me a new perspective on the institution of ar

ts in the schools. Growing up in a public school, I was limited to the programs introduced to me; however, because of the hard work and determination of The Alabama Blues Project, these students are receiving chances that many other students their age are deprived of.


I believe the skills that these children are learning will follow them throughout life. Often, the students play as their uninterested, but as soon as they are given a task or purpose their eyes light up. This is why I do this. Watching the children experience new activities and ways of learning build confidence in themselves and one another. The children of Matthews Elementary encourage one another during every task set in front of them. I believe that arts should be encouraged in schools because when children create others are encouraged.

I have been reminded this semester that change in a school system can be impactful no matter how small. It is better to begin small than never start at all.

Matthews Elementary School Landscapes

Paul Klee once said, “Drawing is the art of taking a line for a walk.” That is just what some of the fifth grades girls of Matthew’s Elementary School did last week when they designed landscapes for the backdrop of their final performance with the Alabama Blues Project.

The lesson started by reading Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon. The girls were then broken into groups to plan, draw and paint the landscapes. The goals of this exercise were to elicit collaboration and communication through group activity, produce planning skills and

reveal how lines make-up the things we see every day. The girls became so enthralled with planning that many almost ran out time to paint. Because of the time constraint, the lesson began to be an exploration of creativity and problem-solving to come to a stopping point.

Interestingly, the three groups designed and implemented different lines and symbols in each landscape and created three unique and clever designs. This lesson was a reminder of just how important every person is to the design process and how fun every step in the process of creating can be.

Thankfully, the girls finished their landscapes beautifully and will be on display along with the other talents the students of Matthew’s Elementary are learning from the gracious volunteers of the Alabama Blues Project.

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