Archive for May, 2010

2010 Poster of Camden Students at Peace Doing Art

May 27, 2010

Students really are at peace doing art whether they can draw or not and regardless of their cultural or economic background. It is the creative spirit, inherent in all human beings (until it is taught out of them), that impels children to learn, to invent the world to fit their needs.

Here are samples from 24 elementary schools. It just so happens this is the same number of years Art Aware has been in existence: 24!

We’ve divided the 2010 Poster into quadrants. Look at the artwork inspired by art teachers from the 24 public, charter and faith-based schools! Do you see the bird’s eye view of a person with knock-out shoes and a composite of cubist faces Picasso never could have painted so prettily? Look at the end-of-year art show held outdoors.

In the 2nd quadrant you see a drawing of “Spring Break” with swings and dog bones, a landscape collage, a studious student, motorcycle hill and a hungry caterpillar.

In the 3rd quadrant a variation of Hokusai’s “Great Wave” is seen and a visualization of an image under a microscope.

Included in the 4th quadrant is a racing car, a remarkably true likeness in a collage (the picture of the person is attached at the bottom), a Navaho blanket and a Narnia scene.

If you would like a 8&1/2″ X 11″ color copy of the 2010 poster with a list of the schools and artists, let me know in the comment area below or in an e-mail ( and I’ll send you one.

Enjoy and please cheer for the young Camden artists and their teachers!

Camden’s Fantastic Art Teachers: Featuring Ms. Watkins

May 21, 2010

Look at this 4th grader’s artwork initiated by Faize Watkins! Would you be proud if you had done it? For years Ms. Watkins’ students’ intricate line drawings have been chosen for Art Aware posters of Camden Students at Peace Doing Art.  You can see her below standing in front of the posters displayed in her classroom.

Look at this dancing figure on a background of circles. Can you imagine doing such a piece of artwork? When this student grows up and has children and grandchildren of her own, I hope this image will have been saved and be displayed in her house commemorating her 4th grade year with Ms. Watkins and giving inspiration to all who view it!

In the next image we see a girl lounging within another background of intricate designs. I think Ms. Watkins imbued her fourth graders with the spirit of Henri Matisse!

Finally, in a 4th grader’s work of a family going to church, Ms. Watkins has called forth the influence of African American painter, William H. Johnson.

When children in 4th grade can produce artwork like this, and ALL the members of the class do so each in their own way, they are destined for a life of success. I believe they will always hold in their hearts the experience of being in Ms. Watkins art class at Cramer School in Camden!

The wonderful Ms. Faize Watkins!

Camden’s Fantastic Art Teachers. Highlighting Ms. Babilonia

May 13, 2010

The elementary schools in Camden are blooming with art shows. The walls are covered with student work initiated by art teachers. Every year at this time Art Aware volunteers scout the corridors for pieces to exhibit in the following year’s poster of Camden Students at Peace Doing Art.

Some schools have Smart Boards on which Virtual Museums come alive in the classrooms. Other schools are getting up to speed with putting student artwork on their websites. Ms. Babilonia, the art teacher at H.B. Wilson School, has both.

She’s an artist in her own right (see and helps students achieve great heights with their creativity. This Chinese New Year’s Bowl of Oranges (middle picture)  by a second grader is an example.

I recently heard her give a talk at Rutgers-Camden detailing her career since graduating from there. Her energy and vision are contagious in a university or an elementary school setting.  I know this first hand. Several years ago, because of her skills,  Art Aware chose to take her eighth grade class to a Romare Bearden retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York City,  together with eight other schools.

Yesterday, when I visited her school, she showed me her art room and what she does with her Smart Board. Please copy and paste the following link to see what a fantastic art teacher can achieve with her students:

Lion King Masks Completed

May 5, 2010

A successful closure for The Lion King activities that consumed the eighth grade art classes for the past month: everyone discussing it in class.

Students at Camden Forward School, under the direction of art teacher, Julie Kring-Schreifels, completed the masks that were influenced by the production they saw of Julie Taymor’s Lion King at the Philadelphia Academy of Music on April 15th. Art Aware sponsored the theatrical outing.

The proof is in the pudding. Look at the results!

These students will be graduating in June. The years of creating art and having it displayed throughout their classrooms and at home will be an important memory of their elementary school experience. It will remain with them for a lifetime.

With luck, when they have their own children, they will find an elementary school with a extraordinary art program similar to the one at Camden Forward and pass down the creative tradition.