Victory Elementary Celebrates Unconventional Artist

As the calendar year counts down, school children present holiday programs. Perhaps you will see Santa and his elves walking down the wall, but how about a woman with a dark-haired wig, uni-brow and lightly drawn facial hair?

If you visited Victory Elementary School on Dec. 19, you may have seen this figure. Victory celebrated Heritage Day on Dec. 19, and the woman with the pencil-enhanced eyebrows was art teacher Lynn Portch dressed as renowned 20th century artist Frida Kahlo.

Kahlo was a Mexican American artist, who often painted self-portraits, including symbolic portrayals of her emotional state. Her work includes bright colors and mixes the traditional artist techniques with surrealism.

Principal Donna Kirby at Victory Elementary said they decided to focus on Kahlo since she was the artist featured by Arts on the Go Educational Outreach at the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory in Old Town Manassas.

According to Portch she took at least one art class to introduce the children to Frida Kahlo’s story in a manner appropriate to their grade level. During the next class students began art assignments based upon the inspiration and subject matter Kahlo used in her paintings. Kindergarteners drew self-portraits, first graders did a family portrait, and upper classmen did more abstract work, which told a story or included an abstract representation.

During the Heritage Day celebrations children got to tour their school as part of a gallery walk. The exercise helped them learn to appreciate art and understand how to interact with art in a museum or art gallery.

But visual art was not the only medium as part of Heritage Day. As a collaborative effort between encore classes and ESOL programs, students participated in song and dance in the gymnasium coordinated by music teacher Jessica Colling. Students also listened to a traditional stories from around the world narrated by teacher A. Lindsay, and learned a traditional dance from physical education teacher Jack Jenkins. Guest presenters, friends and family members of the students also gave cultural presentations.

Parents were invited to visit and watch students’ song and dance recitals.

Kirby said this is the first time they have had a Heritage Day, but they consider it a success and would like to continue the tradition.

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Category: Education, Holidays, Victory Lakes

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