Some years ago, before we expanded and built a fourth elementary school in our district, our students had art on a cart. Since there were so many students and only one art room, part-time art teachers visited classrooms for the time the students were scheduled to have art class, which I believe was once in every six-day period. It could have been more frequent but I fail to remember exactly how often it was. I do remember that the art teachers would load up portable carts full of the materials needed to do whatever form of art on which the class was currently working. Paper, Scissors, Paints, Brushes, Tape, Pencils, Magazines and more were all pushed and pulled from one classroom to the next on a scheduled rotational basis. I specifically remember my youngest son was in first grade when he had Mr. B and, occasionally, Mrs. S. for art on a cart. It didn’t seem to curtail the wonderful projects that would line the halls of the school and eventually arrive home.
I do not think the students minded art on a cart at all. After all, they still had their art class and didn’t even have to leave their classroom for the lesson. But, having been a “mobile” teacher myself – bringing my monthly lessons to school for garden club in bags, baskets, and totes as well as having to set up quickly in someone else’s space – I wonder how the teachers liked it. I do not mind having to cart my lessons around but it does require quite a bit of flexibility. I am sure the art teachers felt the same. Having a mobile classroom also requires a great deal of organization to ensure one has what one needs since you cannot just keep your supplies stored on a shelf.
Art on a cart lasted only as long as it took to build the fourth elementary school and alleviate some of the crowding and lack of available classroom space in the buildings. But, this all came back to mind this weekend when I carted posters, handouts, brochures, my Powerpoints, pens, props, and of course, tape to a conference venue to give a “lesson” on a larger scale. I was thankful for the experience I had with providing mobile presentations!
And then, yesterday, I returned to Sam’s Club where I saw a mobile cart a week before. Our youngest son, the one who used to have art on a cart that I mentioned before, is an artist. He usually does hyper-realistic colored-pencil drawings. But, recently his high school art teacher pushed him to try pastels and water colors, too. After success with both of those mediums, he felt he wanted to try oil paints. So, we did what any parents would do when a child exhibits talent. We set him up a work-space in the basement utility room. We bought a set of oil paints, canvases, and brushes. A week ago Sunday he completed his own “Bob Ross” style landscape. I was impressed. He was self-critical. But, I did notice that he needed a cart. A cart to store his art supplies on in the basement. A cart that could be stored against the wall, but pulled over to his work area when he was painting. I returned to Sam’s so that we could have art on a cart in our house!
Just like the creations that develop on the blank page or canvas, you never know where your ideas will come from or to what they will connect! Art on a Cart – It was a good thing.