Bethel Park fourth-graders to visit International

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Students at Bethel Park High School aren’t the only ones in the district to get a firsthand look at the Carnegie International.

Fourth-graders from Benjamin Franklin Elementary School are scheduled to visit the famed exhibition  Jan. 30 at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.

Under the leadership of art teacher Kristen Ritchie, with fourth-grade teachers Amy Luzader, Dana Polis and Jennifer Gallaher, students will take inspiration from the exhibition to undertake a variety of projects.

To prepare for their visit, students have been using the museum’s website to research the artists whose works are on exhibit there. The students also are learning to create in the style of some of the artists whose work they will see.

Ms. Ritchie said she tries to show  the role that art plays in all aspects of life and has created projects for the students that incorporate different disciplines and ways of learning.

The students created landscape maps inspired by the works of Joseph Yoakum, which incorporated social studies and geography objectives, and they made papier-mache abstract molds inspired by the works of Vincent Fecteau.

The students will learn science while creating plaster geode sculptures inspired by the works of Erika Verzutti. Portraits inspired by the work of Zanele Muholi will have a language arts emphasis.

“It’s a good way to have them do projects, learn and then go see them firsthand and compare and contrast the works,'' Ms. Ritchie said.

Working in pairs, the students are also creating PowerPoint presentations, which will include the artists' works, mediums, countries of origin and training. They also will compare and contrast the before and after impressions of the artwork and discuss their field trip experience.

High school students who visited the museum last week will collaborate with the fourth-graders. Cross-school displays between the high school and elementary are planned and high schoolers will be on hand for the fourth graders presentations.

This is the second year Ms. Ritchie has accompanied her students to an art museum and she said they are excited.

"It makes me so happy to hear them talk about their work and use these artists’ names and some of the vocabulary words that we are learning,” she said. “The way they’re starting to talk about art is really exciting.''

Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer:

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