Mary Hunnicutt, art teacher at Haw Creek Elementary, is mixing history, culture, and art into her lesson today. Her 5th grade students are creating paper molas. They are based on a style of art created by an ancient culture in Central America: The Cuna Indians from the San Blas Islands.
The students cut shapes into different colored paper and glue the pages together to give their picture a multi- dimensional look. The Cuna Indians used fabric to create their molas, but the style is similar to her student’s creations. Ms. Hunnicutt says she strives to mix history and art for her students.
“It’s important for them to realize different art from around the globe. The more students learn about other cultures and their art, the more they understand how much they have in common,” she says.
This is Ms. Hunnicutt’s first year at Haw Creek, though she’s taught art for over 20 years! She says the creative process she fosters in her class benefits students in their other subjects.
“It makes them creative problem solvers,” she explains.
At Haw Creek, Ms. Hunnicutt teaches grades K-5. The different types of student art you’ll see in her classroom include painting, pottery, sculpture, and multi-media. This week, her kindergarten students are making collages with scraps of paper. All of her students have the freedom to use their imagination and express themselves.
“It’s exciting to see kids get lost in the creative process,” she says, “and when they are lost in that creative process, they discover a lot about who they are.”
Computers and other high-tech devices are a huge part of her students’ days at school and at home. She says while digital learning is important, it's also crucial for students to express themselves artistically, without relying on a computer.
“When you are using paint you can feel the texture and see the colors mixing together. You can’t get that using a computer. Technology is important, but the traditional methods of creating art are very valid and very important, and we need to keep them alive.”
Ms. Hunnicut says she learns as much from her students as they learn from her. As her school year continues, she hopes her students use art to understand more about themselves and more about the world around them.