Kid Stuff On Campus Visual Art

Art U Helps Color Kids’ Worlds

UW-Stout art ed majors bring online art to 4-H members

Abbey Goers / UW-Stout |

LOOKS JUST DUCKY. Art U 4-H student with their artwork
LOOKS JUST DUCKY. An Art U 4-H student with his artwork. (Submitted photo)

Art education majors at UW-Stout and Arts Integration Menomonie partnered with 4-H Club educators in Dunn, Chippewa, and Eau Claire counties to bring online art classes to their students in kindergarten through seventh grade this spring.

About 40 students were involved in Art U, taught by four preservice art teachers. Their creative works were displayed through early may at the university’s Heritage Hall. The themes of the work vary between grade levels, and mediums include drawing, watercolor, printmaking, and beading. 

The opportunity for online art teaching arose when the challenges brought on by the pandemic put many preservice teaching experiences on hold, explained art education Program Director Ann Oberding. A grant from AIM allowed for reduced programming cost.

“Being able to bring art into people’s homes is important, especially during times of crisis,” she said. “Like many other teacher preparation programs, we struggled to find ways to continue to support our students’ growth as educators. It took an amazing amount of hours, people, and preparation for this series of classes to take place.”

Oberding met with Assistant Professor Tami Weiss, AIM executive director, and Dunn County 4-H Program Educator Luisa Gerasimo last fall to discuss how to support 4-H students with art, as well as help build the competence and confidence of art education preservice teachers. This is the second time UW-Stout and AIM have partnered with the Dunn County 4-H.

Being able to bring art into people’s homes is important, especially during times of crisis. 

Like many other teacher preparation programs, we struggled to find ways to continue to support our students’ growth as educators. It took an amazing amount of hours, people, and preparation for this series of classes to take place.

ANN OBERDING

UW-STOUT ART EDUCATION PROGRAM DIRECTOR

SHELL WE SWIM? A 3D painted turtle by high schooler Lily Schwartz, far left, was displayed at UW-Stout’s Heritage Hall.
Art U student Lily Schwartz, left, and art education Program Director Ann Oberding.

For Susan Krahn, this is her family’s second year participating in an AIM virtual art experience. “I love how my children have learned new art techniques and ways to be creative,” she said. “We wouldn’t come up with these great art project ideas on our own, and Art U makes it easy with basic art supplies at home.”

Lily Schwartz, a 4-H high school student, has enjoyed using everyday materials to enhance her artwork. “I’ve always been fascinated by 3D paintings; however, I never could figure out how to accomplish such a piece. I was thrilled to learn how to by using toilet paper and cardboard on canvas,” she said.

Her mother, Beth, added, “Lily has been able to watch and listen to some of the college art educators while creating her piece. This is an amazing opportunity for her to be in the art ed department at one of the universities that is high on her list, in a field she wants to pursue. For us, this isn’t just about the art she will create, but the observation and learning that is happening at the same time.”

Oberding is proud of her preservice art teachers. “They rock,” she said. “They know that their presence and the visual arts will make a difference in the world. They are dedicated and are willing to go the extra mile to gain knowledge and practice and help to build a community that loves art.”

Learn more about Arts Integration Menomonie at artsintegrationmenomonie.org.

Lily Schwartz’s 3D painted turtle on display in UW-Stout's Heritage Hall.
Lily Schwartz’s 3D painted turtle on display in UW-Stout's Heritage Hall.