Take a bow, Burbank. You deserve a big round of applause.
Beginning in fall 2014, the students and teachers at Burbank Elementary School in Hayward, CA, embarked on a new and ambitious program to integrate arts across the curriculum. It’s a natural fit for a school community whose mission includes cultivating and cherishing “an environment that supports the academic, social-emotional, creative and civic learning” of all students.
After studying the artwork of Pop artist Andy Warhol, fifth and sixth grade students made artwork inspired by his creations. Students were prompted to find images that represent contemporary pop culture, and then to use Adobe Photoshop Elements to create their own Warhol-inspired work. They learned how to manipulate various Photoshop Elements tools to crop, select, paint and fill select areas of their work with contrast colors.
In another project, students used Photoshop Elements to create typographical portraits of people and characters they researched in class. Each student learned how to create brushes from words related to their subject matter. They found images of their subject matter and applied filters to convert the images to black-and-white. Then they isolated the black areas and replaced them with the new typographic brushes they’d created. The finished pieces are portraits constructed from typography.
These innovative art programs are the brainchild of Robert Hoang, who joined the Burbank team last year to teach visual arts to K–6 students, and to work with his colleagues to plan arts integration lessons. Hoang co-leads Burbank’s partnership with Turnaround Arts: California, a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities that seeks to advance education in a select group of elementary and middle schools in the state. To support this work, Hoang secured a software donation from Adobe & ConnectED to help increase technological literacy for Burbank’s students by integrating digital media into the art curriculum.
Adobe is a big fan of Burbank Elementary and Turnaround Arts, but we’re certainly not alone. Turnaround Arts matches each of its partner schools with a celebrity mentor. Earlier this year the students at Burbank enjoyed a visit from their mentor, the actor Tim Robbins.
The Burbank fan club also includes U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell, California Assemblymember Bill Quirk, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday and several members of the Hayward Unified School Board. The group visited the school last week to gain a better understanding of Adobe’s public/private partnerships and get a first-hand look at the impact of the arts in the classroom. “The students and dedicated faculty at Burbank Elementary School have demonstrated the value of incorporating both the arts and technology into the classroom,” said Representative Swalwell. “Burbank Elementary students are developing creativity and technological skills that will empower them throughout their lives.”
“We are grateful to all the leaders who came out to support the teachers and students at Burbank, and we are honored to have the opportunity to partner with the dedicated professionals at Burbank and Turnaround Arts,” said Tacy Trowbridge, Adobe’s Worldwide Education Programs Group Manager. “Through partnerships like this, we can continue to support and encourage students to become confident digital creators and creative thinkers.”
Building on the success at Burbank, Adobe is expanding the ConnectED program in the Hayward Unified with the goal of getting free creativity and eLearning software and teacher training to all of the district’s Title I schools. If you know of a Title I school that could benefit from Adobe & ConnectED, please direct them to our website for more information.
As part of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, Adobe is donating over $300 million in software and professional development services to schools across the United States.
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) in California. OSA was founded in 2002 and is a public charter school with just over 600 students in grades 6 through 12. In addition to rigorous academics, each student specializes in one of the following disciplines: circus arts, dance, digital media, instrumental music, figure skating, literary arts, production design, theatre, visual arts, or vocal music. It was wonderful to walk the hallways of OSA and pass dance studios, music studios, art studios, biology and Spanish classrooms. I saw students wearing leotards, toting instrument cases (sometimes larger than the students themselves), sketching in notebooks, getting feedback on the latest apparel they designed, taking photos, and singing. The halls were buzzing with much more than just talent– there was so much student creativity, energy, and passion!
The day I visited coincided with the Digital Media class’ Framing Day. Framing Day is the day when students frame and hang their recently completed work. In this case, students were hanging their posters celebrating each of the 30 articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The posters were created in AdobePhotoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign because Heidi Cregge, chair and instructor of Digital Media, uses this assignment to teach students about how these three programs work together and can be used in an integrated way.
Students’ posters were very impressive! Each one intrigued, provoked, and drew in the audience. As always, young people never fail to amaze me with their creativity and passion for making our world a better place. Check-out some of their work below and on their slideshow.
Izzy and Domenico with their posters
Robin and Ryan with their posters
Emilio with his poster (co-created with Ciaran) & Izzy and Takai after hanging posters.