This fall, Mosier Middle School began a new arts program through AIEG. During the school year, we will offer different residencies lead by a variety of teaching artists and musicians to enrich the current humanities curriculum.  Ceramic artist Pam Springer lead students in her Primitive Pottery residency, that incorporates smoke firing handmade and burnished pots in the American Southwest tradition of pottery making.  Students made pots using pinch and coil techniques, then burnished their pieces and applied a slip which highlights and enhanced the “color fuming” that takes place during firing.  After creating their pots, the students participated in an outdoor firing process using a primitive kiln. They added natural items such as pinecones, straw, pine needles, dried cow dung, and copper pennies to see how they would affect the pots during firing. Through this residency, Springer united chemistry, etymology, history, and art.

Next, students worked with teaching artist Pamela Larsen, in a clay workshop incorporating the students’ current study in Humanities.  The 6th and 7th grade students are studying Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek Cultures, while the 8th grade students are studying Ancient Native American Tribes. Larsen lead students in 2 projects: Creating Clay Animals, where students looked at depictions and considered the importance of animals in Ancient Egypt and Early Native American Tribes; and Creating Slab Projects about Ancient Communication, where they examined Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Greek Red-Black Designs, petroglyphs, and other symbols and drawings used by early peoples for communicational purposes. They explored how symbols are a way people have communicated for thousands of years. 

Teaching artist Miko Ruhlen then worked with students on an iPad Composition residency using Garage Band, where each student composed an original song. Both new and seasoned music students benefited greatly from this residency, which taught musical form and the basic rules of composing.

Over the winter and spring students will also be working with teaching artists in bucket drumming, theatre, and visual art.