AUBURN — Artist and 3-D illustrator Robin Brickman recently worked with fifth-graders at Park Avenue School and helped them to create a 3-D mural on the topic of coral reefs. Each year, L/A Arts brings artists to work in the public schools of Auburn and Lewiston, enriching the curriculum and making connections between the arts and other disciplines.
Before beginning the hands-on part of the workshop, Brickman briefed the students on the multi-step process she goes through to illustrate a book, beginning with an understanding of the text she will be illustrating, following up with a lot of research and then finally creating the illustrations. She stressed the need to really look at details in order to realistically reproduce the subject.
After the presentation, students were given materials to research and then create at least two creatures that would occupy a coral reef. Using paper, crayons and scissors, an underwater community began to take shape. From the simple shape of a starfish to the intricacy of sharks, students created a host of creatures for their 3-D mural. The students were shown cutting techniques to create smooth curves and feathery frills
After drawing, cutting and coloring, the students used folding and bending techniques to give the animals depth. When all was done, more than 100 creatures were produced.
With the help of adult volunteers, Brickman created a backdrop for the sea life and then, glue gun in hand, thoughtfully placed the sea animals in their appropriate zones, with starfish and shell animals swelling up on the sea floor, fish, jelly fish and rays floating in the foreground, and sharks hovering at the top in the distance.
To round off the aquatic experience, the following day students took a field trip to USM’s Atrium Gallery in Lewiston to see “Vernal Pools,” an exhibit that features Brickman’s work and that of at least a dozen other visual artists.
L/A Arts’ Education Programs offer continuous, on-going programming in all Lewiston Auburn public schools, which affects nearly 10,000 young people every year, and works with other schools throughout the state on projects and programs as well as in an advisory capacity. Projects range from bringing artists into elementary schools for studio residencies to providing arts and curriculum related teacher workshops for all educators and administrators.
To learn more about L/A Arts, visit www.laarts.org.