Arts Renaissance in Tuscaloosa Schools

Bringing the arts to Tuscaloosa-area schools.

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.

Community Arts with the Alabama Blues Project

This semester our Community Arts class is working with the Alabama Blues Project doing art programs at Matthews. The Alabama Blues Project is a non-profit that seeks to preserve the Blues music as a traditional and contemporary art form through interactive programs that educate and entertain. For the last three weeks, we have had the artist Ron Morris working with the 4th graders. The children got to work with clay in order to make gong like instrument. The first week they made clay stamps, the second week they used the stamps to decorate the clay gongs and glaze them, and on the third week, the children decorated their sticks and played their gongs. The next few weeks the 4th graders will be split into groups with singing, dancing, and art on Thursdays. The 5th graders are split into groups doing vocals, guitars, drums and harmonicas on Fridays. Our Community Arts class will be assisting the Alabama Blues Project by helping with art and theater lessons. The program will end with a final performance where all the children will come together and perform with their instruments and have speaking parts about Blue history as well as displaying a student made backdrop. Our class is super excited to be partnering with the Alabama Blues Project this semester! Visit their website at

Pottery Workshop at Matthews Elementary

The “Cooperation and Conflict” class is headed to Matthews Elementary this Friday!  We will be creating pinch pots with over 100 third graders.  We will be teaching them the history of pottery, how to create their own basic pinch pot, and how to jazz up their creations!  We will then fire their pieces in a kiln so that each student will have a final piece to bring home.  We can’t wait to meet them all and spend a great afternoon together!IMG_1452.jpgIMG_1447.jpgIMG_1439.jpg

Kicking Off The New Year!

Tuscaloosa ARTS is excited to be kicking off the Spring semester! We will begin the year by working with the awesome 4th graders at Matthews Elementary on February 3rd at 12:00pm! If you are interested in volunteering next Friday or sometime in the future, fill out our “Get Involved” form. We are always looking for new faces!

Also, if you would like more information about our organization, feel free to contact Brittany Grady (

Holiday Ornaments at Matthews Elementary

I want to send out a special thanks to all of the UA students who volunteered this semester, especially the amazing group from my class  New 238: Honors Cooperation and Conflict. They took responsibility for most workshops, from the original project idea to scheduling to leading the activity and helping the children.

And I’m not alone. 2nd grade teacher Ms. Presley writes, “Thank you for the art activity. The students loved it!!!!!!!”

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Thankful for another ARTS workshop!


Happy almost Thanksgiving, everyone! Something we are very thankful for this Thanksgiving is the gift of art and creativity.

We are excited to announce that this Friday (11/18) each 5th grader at Matthews Elementary School will have the opportunity to show us who and what they are thankful for this year.

Students will get creative by decorating thank you cards with paint prints of leaves. They will then write a letter of gratitude to anyone they chose. Not only is it a fun craft, it makes for a great Thanksgiving Day surprise!

As always, we would love (and be very thankful for) an extra pair of hands to help out!

Interested volunteers should come to Matthews Elementary School at 12:45 p.m. on Friday. The workshop will be over no later than 2:00 p.m. We ask that you come dressed to paint and ready for fun!

Thanks and Roll ARTS Roll!


We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out and helped this past Friday to make the fossil workshop a success! All the kids enjoyed making their fossils and had a great time.

Roll Arts Roll!

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Thank you!

Once again we would like to express our gratitude to the ARTS community and the staff and students at Matthews Elementary School.
Thank you for helping to make the pumpkin painting workshop a resounding success! We could not have done it without your creativity and enthusiasm.
Until next time, Roll ARTS Roll!
ICYMI: On Friday, Oct. 7, about 10 volunteers helped facilitate workshops in three 5th grade classrooms, with a total of about 75 students.
Volunteers read Halloween stories to students who then got to decorate pumpkins with paint, glitter glue, googly eyes, feathers and more!

Pumpkin Party!


Happy October to the ARTS community and beyond! We have been getting in the Autumn and Halloween Spirit, and are excited to announce that for this week’s workshop we will be decorating pumpkins!

Each 5th grader at Matthews Elementary School will get a miniature pumpkin to paint. They will then write about and present their pumpkins to the class.

We would always love an extra pair of hands to help the students with the projects. Anyone interested in helping is greatly appreciated and should come to Matthews Elementary School at 12:45 and expect to be there until 2:15. It is recommended that volunteers wear clothes that they don’t mind getting paint on.

Thanks and Roll ARTS Roll!


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