Prologue and Postscript | Art Space | John A. Barry And Bill Carmel | |

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Art Space

By John A. Barry And Bill Carmel

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About this blog: John Barry is the creator of trAction Painting, a process/performance genre in which he applies paint to large surfaces with bicycles, roller skates, and other wheeled conveyances. With Bill Carmel and other associates, he has bro...  (More)

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Prologue and Postscript

Uploaded: Jul 18, 2015
Last summer I chronicled in this blog the first proof-of-concept of using trAction Painting as a foundational element for an integrated curriculum, at a four-day summer camp in Pittsburg. Since then, my associates and I have guided two other related events: one at a middle school in Lafayette, the other at an elementary in San Jose.

The summer camp proved so successful that we are gearing up to do it again, this time focusing on geometry and teamwork. As with last year, I'll have daily reports on the kids' progress.

These events would not be possible without the help of dedicated people who volunteer time and energy. One such volunteer is Vicki Oliver. As a former schoolteacher, she caught the essence of what we are doing in these sessions and was kind enough to share her thoughts. Vicki is fourth from left in the accompanying picture taken at the San Jose event. From left to right: Eva Langfeldt, Bill Carmel, Chris Diggins, Vicki, Barbara Johnson.

Playful, Fun, Creative

As a retired educator I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the trAction Painting event held at Discovery 2 charter school in San Jose. At the event, second, fourth, and fifth grade students used Razor scooters to roll different colors and layers of paint onto a large canvas while playfully riding in their own unique style. Some simply rolled smoothly across the canvas while others jumped or popped a single wheel to create a distinctive painted line.

In my experience, most elementary-school-aged children are taught art in a traditional classroom environment in which paintbrushes, watercolors, and crayons are used for creating their art projects. Refreshingly, this outdoor "classroom," session employed a common children's activity to engage students in a playful, fun, and creative expression of art. Though some students seemed to lack confidence in their creative ability, their worries quickly faded as John and Bill had them work together on a strategy of applying the different colors of paint to the canvas. Like all instructors, John and Bill first demonstrated how to apply the paint with the scooter before cutting the students loose.

I was impressed with trAction Painting because it offered students an alternative approach to the traditional teaching of art in the classroom. Students had the opportunity to express their creativity in a unique and fun way while working collaboratively on their project. And in the end, they were clearly pleased with their group effort and of the abstract art that they had created.?Vicki Oliver
What is it worth to you?


Posted by K Wills, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

I would say this is participating in the arts at it's finest!As a former elementary art teacher, I would imagine that the children were fascinated and grateful to give the traction painting a try themselves. Looks like you have a dedicated group of assistants in this art experience too!

Posted by Barbara, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Great summation Vicki of a fun and rewarding day with John & Bill and crew plus all the kids!

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