The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is pleased to present Preschool Perspectives: Crossing the Threshold, an exhibition of art by the seventy-one Preschool children ages three to five. This year, the Preschool celebrates fifty years of creative learning through the arts. The students crossed the threshold into the galleries regularly to explore The Road Less Traveled and Unseen Forces exhibition series. These experiences were folded into the activities in the classrooms.
During The Road Less Traveled exhibition series recently featured at the Arts Center, the children became fast friends with artists Loy Bowlin (aka the “Original Rhinestone Cowboy”), Emery Blagdon, Charles Smith, Stella Waitzkin, and Eugene Von Brunchenhein through observing, discussing, sketching, and journaling about the artists’ work. In the studio classrooms, they worked collaboratively to create elements for their own art environment and exhibition.
The children waited anxiously for the gallery doors to open for each of the five exhibitions in the Unseen Forces series, which followed The Road Less Traveled. They crossed the threshold into these galleries to meet the new artists Iris Häussler, Renée Stout, Joy Feasley, and Paul Swenbeck. There was new work to explore and inspire, new techniques and materials to work with, new skills to try. The works brought new discussions, revelations, and fodder for journaling and art-making.
Children were invited to be curious, ask questions, and problem solve as they created patterns, hammered, drilled, spread glue, sprinkled glitter, and rolled paint, all while learning to take turns and work together developing their social-emotional skills. Little fingers twisted, pinched, cut, sewed, drew, painted, printed, wrapped, and tied, just to name a few techniques. A variety of found objects, recyclables, natural and man-made materials, and fine art supplies were explored throughout the creative process. Our mantra, “No, no, don’t throw that away! I can make that into something!” has been exclaimed many times both at Preschool and at home. Literacy, cultural studies, science, math, and plenty of choices and play were layered into the process at every opportunity. Excursions outdoors and on field trips to community sites integrated into the experiences of learning and growing throughout the year.
Dramatic play, music, creative movement, theatrical lessons, and American Sign Language and Spanish lessons enhanced the creative spirit of the children. This unique amalgamation of experiences results in a quality early childhood education to build on as they grow to adulthood.