December 19, 2014

Haas and Hahn Blocks

We are lucky to live in a city of murals, and extra lucky to go to school down the street from this awesome corridor of buildings reimagined by Dutch painting team Haas and Hahn.

We studied Haas and Hahn's work around the world - identifying shapes and colors they tend to use in their work. "Why would communities want to paint their whole neighborhood?"

Then the kids followed in their footsteps, changing these boring old blocks to works of art using paint and colored tape. 

Unlike many of our projects (which result in a take-home, individual artwork), this endeavor had a focus on collaboration - from planning, to painting, to building different structures, like houses, towers, and banks(?).

November 18, 2014

Philly Photo Day 2014

On October 10, students in PS6 and PS7 participated in Philly Photo Day - an annual event that encourages both amateur and professional photographers to take pictures anywhere in the city. 

We shared donated digi point and shoots as well as our two class iPads and took loads of portraits and interior shots in the art studio.

Each Kaleidoscope student has a photo on display (along with 9,000 others) in an exhibition at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.

The show opened on November 13th and runs through December 18th at the Crane Arts Building in Kensington.

The photos will also be on display at Dilworth Plaza at City Hall in Spring 2015.

November 12, 2014


We spent a week this Fall learning about cave art, decorating our own cave, and creating collaborative artworks inspired by caves around the world.

First up was the Lasceaux Caves, 17,000 year old caves in France - we learned about their (re)discovery in the 1940's by the heroic "Robot" the dog.

After looking at lots of Paleolithic art from Lasceaux, we built our "Little Lasceaux". Dream hideout.

Armed with LEDs and oil pastels,  and lots of ideas from Lasceaux - like bears and felines,

the kids decorated the cave with pictures of creatures that are in our lives, like these ferocious beasts.

What might it be like to hang out and live in a real cave? PS7 and PS6 told stories and illustrated them on the dark walls of the art studio using mini cutouts of Paleolithic animals and an overhead projector.

Next up we learned about Cuevas de las Manos in Argentina, known primarily for the stenciled hands adorning the walls and ceilings. 

Just like the inhabitants of 9000 years ago, we experimented with positive and negative space, tracing, cutting, spraying: and made our marks.

And: onto the next adventure.

Oh, and one Wooly Mammoth.

October 8, 2014

Photography Field Trip

Today we had the pleasure of visiting Vita Litvak and Sarah Kaufman's photography studio in Germantown.  In addition to being talented professional photographers, these girls are also pretty gracious hosts.
We saw some of each artist's current work, and found portraitslandscapescityscapes and interiors within their collections. 

Students were able to handle and look through the rangefinders of all kinds of cameras - from 80's "old" to very old. 
And the kids sat still for a portrait and were rewarded with an instant print!

All of this in anticipation of Philly Photo Day 2014
which we will definitely be participating in this week!

August 20, 2014

Warhol Botanics

Our class explored some big copy-catting ideas when we dipped into the world of Andy Warhol.
We studied multiples, his "factory" work, and even appropriation.

A big part of this lesson was asking and answering questions like "What do you notice?" and of course "How are they the same, and how are they different?"

Settlement Music School, 
Spring 2014

August 19, 2014

Copy Cats

PAFA's "Copy Class" was encouraged to put their own spin on masterworks from the museum's collection by experimenting with scale, materials, and technique.


inspired by Robert Henri's "Ruth St. Denis in the Peacock Dance" 1919

inspired by Winslow Homer's "Fox Hunt" 1893


inspired by Louis Lozowick's "Pittsburg" 1922


8-10 year olds in PAFA's Silent Filmmaking program learned from past and present masters of silent film. 

While working together in teams, classmates learned the challenges and value that come with collaboration! This project combined media history, film making and photography, graphic design, writing,  time management, and working together.

Students were responsible to develop scripts, story board, location scout, shoot, edit and promote their own films.

While shooting their films, students put new photography vocabulary to work, and later created minimalist movie posters to showcase at a screening for friends and family.

See other silent films from PAFA on YouTube: Midnight Thieves and Attack at the Museum.

August 16, 2014

the Time Machine

8-10 year olds in PAFA's Summer Art Camp: Time Travelers. 
While studying ideas of time travel from literature and film, these students 
designed their own time machine, and built it from scratch! 

They built the frame, assembled the structure, wired the electric components, 
and added tons of special features, like a food dispenser, 
a past/future mail slot, and port holes. 

After we create a basic design, our special guest builder, Ryan Anderson 
helped us make a super sturdy frame from PVC

We were super lucky to have Brendan Schrader and Chris Terrell from
Philadelphia hackerspace Hive 76 helped us wire our control panel! 
This was obviously an integral addition to our machine.

details from control panel


This collaborative sculpture project was definitely a summer highlight.
See some of our concurrent time travel themed projects here.

PAFA Summer Art Camp, 2014