The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Middle School Art Club fosters self-expression – virtually

Graphic by Shabana Gupta

By Saniya Kelkar

In the midst of a chaotic and uncertain time for young people, the Middle School Art Club at Grinnell Middle School continues to provide students with a safe place for expression through art. The art club, an initiative of the Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA) and the Grinnell College Service Learning Work Study program, was founded 16 years ago with the intention of better connecting the College and the community. The club recently shifted from being an in-person program where students from the College lead art activities at the middle school to a virtual program that meets every Friday evening. 

Tilly Woodward, the curator of academic and community outreach at GCMoA, expressed her views about how the art club gives the middle school students a safe place to express themselves through art. 

“Especially at this time, students have a particular need to express themselves or to process a difficult point in life. After all, art is really good at helping us process what is difficult in life and to connect with beauty and joy,” said Woodward. 

The co-leaders of the club, Brenna Hanlon `22 and Amanda Na `22, lead the club meetings every Friday evening on Zoom. The middle school students are sent activity bags that often contain reproductions from the College’s own art collection and current exhibits, along with art supplies and activity guides so that they can follow along with the instructors.  

This February, the club has chosen numerous artworks from the collection relating to Black history. The club’s artistic endeavors have mostly been focused on drawing and collages, but have also expanded into some projects involving sewing and sculpting. Hanlon and Na send students a document explaining the activities to those who were unable to join the meeting. 

Additionally, writing exercises have been added to the activity guides as a way of reflecting and responding to the artwork. This is a way to incorporate the club’s larger goals: looking, thinking, talking, writing and making. 

“The Middle School Art Club is a part of our larger mission, to serve the community and to bring the College and the community together,” Woodward said. 

“We’ve been meeting on Zoom, but we’ve still been able to have a great time and keep up with the principles of sharing the artworks and connecting it back to the community,” said Hanlon. 

The Middle School Art Club holds weekly virtual meetings from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. every Friday. The club is open to student volunteers as well, provided they undergo a background check and two training courses.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *