The museum’s outreach programs are an important part of its education-focused mission. In addition to exposing students to art-making basics, the outreach programs encourage students to explore and practice their creative reasoning and interpersonal skills. These skills are integral to working collaboratively. Right now museum instructors are working on collaborative projects at Kalihi Uka Elementary and Kaimuki Middle School.
For Kalihi Uka’s after-school art program, museum outreach instructor Gail Hercher had her group of 3rd- to 5th-grade students practice composition and overlapping lines through oil pastel and watercolor resists (painting over the pastels). After completing individual works of fish in an aquarium, students then moved on to contribute to the class mural project, where students had to negotiate with one another about where to place their fish and how to color their outlines. Students could be overheard asking their classmates, “What do you think about putting it here?” “I don’t have enough room, can my fish go behind yours?” “Look at the fins I added—do you like them?”
Meanwhile, instructor Emily McIlroy has an Artists In the School Residency at Kaimuki Middle School where she works with 6th and 8th graders. She started students off with a brainstorming session, where they thought about what Hawai‘i’s energy and efforts in sustainability might look like in the future. Each student drew their interpretation of the theme, then Emily took elements from each drawing to create a design representative of all the students’ ideas—to be used in a mural made with thousands of painted plastic bottle caps. Students glued down each cap to create their image. From planning to execution, the project was a true collaboration between students and teachers.