Students showcase talents at StART It UP

The soul of the Claremont Museum of Art is its love of the city’s rich artistic history and its heart lay in the many programs created to inspire the imagination of budding artists of all ages. Project ARTstART is one such program and art enthusiasts will delight in the many pieces created by local elementary school students and showcased at the StART It Up exhibition opening this weekend.

Curated and installed by high school students from Project ARTstART, the StART It Up exhibition features over 100 works of art from fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes as well as individual students from Oakmont, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools. Working in various mediums such as model magic and card stock, the student’s creations were inspired by artwork from other artists, viewed during their many exhibition field trips. 

The Oakmont project aided in developing the students’ abilities to render the natural characteristics and spirits of animals through drawing and sculpture, and to further their appreciation of the connections between different organisms in the environment. Inspired by local artist Betty Davenport Ford, the displayed animal sculptures and their respective “habitat” dioramas were made by students after they took a field trip to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to see the Betty Davenport Ford: Capturing the Animal Spirit art exhibition.

Sycamore students focused on Native American artwork and storytelling through art to complement the teachers’ focus on indigenous people. The students collaborated in decorating a hide that told a story through pictures, a technique they learned at the Native American Collection Study Center at Pomona College while observing the various ways in which Native Americans used patterns, symbols, and illustrations to tell stories. They also created and decorated pinch-pots in addition to tipi models that are proudly displayed at the exhibition.

Vista del Valle students learned the difference between craft and art, with a curricular tie-in to specific cultures that their teachers had been promoting all year.

This year, the classroom cultures focused on France, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and the Nordic Viking era, which each room’s theme culture incorporated into their respective projects. The students created shadow puppets and masks, reinforcing the lesson that some crafts appear across cultures.

To tie the curriculum together, the students visited the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts and explored the Craft at Play exhibit, which incorporated all the themes they ?had learned. While there, the students were able to examine multicultural objects and explain why these particular crafts and toys were considered an art form, giving the students a broader perspective into the theme explored for the project: that certain craft forms are universal across cultures, and rise the level of art.

Under the direction of Rich Deely, ARTstART trains high school students, working with college mentors, to provide exhibit-based art lessons for elementary school students. Now in its third year, the project’s 42 high school student volunteers interacted with 442 students from Oakmont, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools this year with plans to add Mountain View school to their roster in the fall of 2014.

If you’re interested in viewing the works of these young artisans, the exhibit is free of charge and located at Claremont Heritage Ginger Elliott Exhibition Center in Memorial Park, 840 N. Indian Hill Boulevard, Claremont.

Exhibit hours are from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1 with a final showing on Wednesday, June 4.

For more information on Project ARTstART, go to

—Angela Bailey


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