Art to Go at Angel Oak Elementary School

This semester, I have been working with Megan Sweeney’s Angel Oak Elementary School classes on a project called “Going the Distance for the Arts.” It is a wonderful feeling to go into a classroom and see how excited students are over creating something that is their own, as well as collaborating on a larger project together. As an introduction to the Gibbes Museum, classes learned about the bust of George Washington, sculpted by Giusepe Ceracchi ca. 1792, and the importance of a portrait. The students learned how to draw a self-portrait and to translate onto paper what they see in 3-D.

As a school, we are creating a large owl sculpture of the Angel Oak mascot that will be displayed on the route of the Charleston Marathon. Students learned how to make a relief print using recycled materials and created feathers for the owl using this technique. The 4th and 5th graders helped make the owl form and assemble the feathers. They also designed a large mural as a background for the sculpture.

The marathon installation goes up on Friday, January 18, and can be viewed during the marathon on January 19 in the expo center. The marathon takes place in downtown Charleston, and raises funds to support fine arts programs in our community schools.

In addition to the classroom activities, I have been meeting with the Art Club at Angel Oak. Each member received his or her own sketchbook and we discussed the importance of drawing from life, from your imagination, and from words. We have been writing about our work as well, as an exercise to examine the connection between visual art and the written word. I find each of my encounters with the students so inspiring.

Kristen Solecki, Teaching Artist and Guest Blogger

Learn more about programs for K-12 students at the Gibbes on our website or by contacting Rebecca Sailor, Associate Curator of Education, at

Read about another Art to Go—Charleston Marathon collaboration on our blog.

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