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June 22, 2010 > Art Vistas - It's all in the bag!

Art Vistas - It's all in the bag!

Submitted By Kate Sprotte
Photos By William Mancebo

Enthusiasm and wide smiles of children at Eastin Elementary School in Union City on June 14 marked the culmination of another successful Art Vistas Program by the school's Parent Teacher Club (PTC). Each student carried their own portfolio of artwork made by them from six lessons, including art appreciation, art history, art theory and a hands-on activity.

Art Vistas was first brought to Eastin Elementary by a team of dedicated parents in 2008. Eastin PTC purchased the Art Vistas curriculum from the Union School District in San Jose which just completed their 26th year using Art Vistas. Units include explorations of elements of art, principles of art and various themes or movements of art including: color, line, shape, texture, value, perspective, rhythm, Impressionism, Realism, and Cubism.

This year Eastin students were taught by 131 trained parent volunteers. These docents and helpers taught over 200 classes in all grades - K-5 and Special Education - reaching all 870 students!

Docents and helpers brought in a mobile gallery of 6-8 fine art prints and hands-on activity, relating to the works observed and discussed in the classroom.

Bob Duncan, owner of Bob's Foam Factory, was also an important community supporter of the program, cutting over four cases of cast material so fourth and fifth graders could make cast masks, as part of the Abstract Art lesson.

The year's parade of events included over 200 classroom art lessons, Gallery Night, Mimic the Masters, Family Art Night and Docent Training. All these events are brought to the children by parent volunteers and a resourceful Eastin PTC.

Family Art Night in November gathers Eastin families around more than 20 tables filled with art activities for an evening of creativity and fun.

Mimic the Masters held in January each year allows the teachers and volunteers to come together as a community and try their hand with acrylics and paint their version of one of the over 200 fine art prints in our inventory.

The Second Annual Gallery Night held on May 21 showcased thousands of pieces of student art. The Eastin Choir, led by Ivan de Souza performed and guests had an opportunity to bid on over 30 pieces of student made auction items. This year's auction raised over $2,500, nearly enough to fund the cost of the program's yearly art supplies.

To bring Art Vistas into the classroom requires about $3.50 per student for art supplies. In an era when so much is being taken away from our children in public schools, it is thrilling to be able to add to the enrichment of the students' day with Art Vistas. Art Vistas also dovetails nicely with the California K-5 curriculum. Parents appreciate the warm welcome from classroom teachers and a squeal of, "It's Art Vistas day!"

With continued support of Eastin PTC, generous donations from Art Association of the East Bay and other supporters, we plan to embark on Phase 3 in September, by adding the full Kindergarten and 5th grade curriculums to complete our grades one through four repertoire.

Behind each student's portfolio, are the docents who have devoted many hours to train, prepare supplies and prints and present lessons to make this program effective, fun and rewarding. Docent training is held each semester to ensure a smooth creative flow during their live event in front of 20-33 children. This all-volunteer group has successfully brought the fine arts back into Eastin classrooms.

For more information about Art Vistas curriculum go to To make a donation, become a volunteer or to purchase note cards featuring student art go to

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