Docent Information

We welcome our newest volunteer Docents and School Chairpersons!

The Art to Grow On program is a great opportunity for you to enrich the students at your school. Through the volunteer efforts of our local artists, docents and board members we are able to provide a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for students in the San Pedro, Lomita, and Palos Verdes area schools.

So where do you start?

Every year the Art to Grow On program offers 5 different and unique multimedia art projects to participating schools. Projects are prepared by local artists and focus on a variety of past and modern artists and their techniques and creative styles. Each project is designed for students in grade levels K-8 and the overall cost is kept to under $1.20/student. Past projects include sand sculptures, painting, modeling with clay, and drawing with a variety of media. Instruction also includes information on the artist who inspired the project and/or the history of the techniques. It is hoped that the students will take away not only their finished art projects, but a bit of art appreciation as well.

The Art to Grow On Board meets monthly through the school year (Sept - May) and at least 1 representative from each participating school is encouraged to attend. Paperwork and docent training project fees need to be paid at the beginning of the year, and each school will be asked to participate in a set-up and cleanup group on one of the 5 project training days.

Docents from each school will meet at the United Methodist Church in San Pedro five times throughout the year to learn the new project. These hands-on trainings are a lot of fun. We ask that each school send everyone who will be involved in teaching the projects to students to this group docent training. You will learn great techniques and see anywhere from 80-100 other finished works from the attending docents.

Your school will need to sign a letter of understanding between your principal, ATGO Docent Chairperson and ATGO. The form is available from the chairperson of ATGO.

ATGO project volunteer request send home. Comes 4-up. This can go home with students to help get parent volunteers to help with classes

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ATGO Donation Request Flier

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ATGO Docent Pledge

As a docent volunteer:

  • I will attend the workshops and train with each artist for their respective project

  • Each participating classroom will have at least one artist-trained docent

  • An artist-trained docent is one who has experienced the making of the art project and understands what the student will be experiencing when the project is being presented.

  • If I am unable to attend a workshop, I may not lead the class. I must either find another volunteer to attend the training or ask another docent to teach my class. I may act as docent assistant and and artist-trained docent must fulfill my responsibility in the classroom.

  • It is my obligation to keep my scheduled classroom date and time with the teacher. All schedule changes should be coordinated in a timely manner. If I am unable to appear for a scheduled class project, I will notify my school chairperson and find another docent to replace me.

  • The teacher must remain in the classroom during my visit. The teacher is responsible for his/her students and I am the guest of the teacher and classroom.

  • It is my responsibility to present the art project in an objective manner allowing students to espress their creativity freely, without judgement. I will not change the art project in any way.

  • I have read and understand the Philosophy of ATGO and I will strive to imprement it through my actions, language and involvement in the classroom.

  • I will explain our Philosophy to every classroom assistant so they too can enjance the art experience in the classroom.

Tips for Docents:

  • Let the teachers know ahead of time what the project is and some info on the artist so that they can prepare students for the experience

  • Review the lesson and the project steps before teaching the class, don't just read from the printed material. You'll keep student attention better if you have eye contact and confidence in your plan.

  • Have enough helpers in the classroom

  • Don't begin until you have the complete cooperation of the class.

  • Speak slowly and make sure you have the classes attention

  • Use very simple language geared toward the age level of the class and repeat the directions a few times. Confirm they understand the steps

  • Write instructions on the board for older students

  • If you are nervous try sitting down or getting on their eye level

  • Be positive not critical. Remember there are no mistakes

  • Never draw or paint on a students work. Use your finger or a pointing tool to indicate possible changes or suggestions.

  • Relax and be yourself and have a great time. Remember children are non-judgemental and are very glad you are there.

Getting young artists past their 'roadblocks'

"I can't do it!"

  • Look at the examples one more time

  • Close your eyes and draw a beginning on your page

  • Is there another idea you'd like to try?

  • Start with basic shapes

  • Look around at how others are starting

"I'm bored"

  • Stop for a while then and look around at others work to inspire you

  • Do something different on the back of your paper

"I don't like this project"

  • What changes would you make to it?

  • Surprize me with your ideas

"What color do I use next?"

  • Take a look at the colors you've used. You could repeat some.

  • What color do you like with 'orange'

  • Hold your drawing up. What color do you think it needs for balance

"How do you draw 'x' ?"

  • Think about what it would be like to be "x"

  • Look around at how others are drawing it

  • Can you see any basic shapes you can start from

  • Take a look at the examples on the board and pick one spot to start from

  • It can be anything you want it to be it's your 'x'

  • Reach into your imagination and create your own 'x'

"I'm finished"

  • Let a friend hold up your artwork across the room while you think about it.

  • Stop for a few minutes and coe back to it, maybe you'll have some more ideas

  • Are there any empty spaces that need to be filled in

  • Yes! you definitely are. Go look at what others are doing

Please observe the following when contributing to the Art to Grow On experience

  • Do not judge the artist's or child's work in any way.

  • Do not write or draw in any way upon a child's art project.

  • Remember, encourage the child to look at what they consider a mistake from a different perspective

  • Allow for experimentation with materials. Materials often provide sufficient motivation. Experimentation often leads to discovery.

  • Encourage individual differences.

  • Be flexible, allow for variations. Not all projects will be successful with every child or with every class.

  • Anxiety and frustration are often preludes to creativity

  • Some children want to be left alone whil in the process of creating

  • Allow for questions

  • Do not over-acknowledge a child's work. Too much attention will cause self-consciousness and the work you are praising may be imitated.

  • Honor the child above all!

Good questions to ask about art

The purpose of art is to communicate values and experiences in a non-verbal way. To understand it's value you have to have an understanding of it's expressive qualities and it's relationship to a historical period and the culture of the people at the time. It helps to bridge a gap between cultures of the past and our present culture and personal experiences.

Here are some good questions to ask about art:

  1. Does it communicate certain emotions and feelings? What is it's expressive content?

  2. Does it belong to a clearly recognizable artistic tradition? Is it related to a particular historical style?

  3. Who was the artist and did their personality play a role in the creation of the work? Does it show individual style?

  4. what can a visual examination and analysis of the work tell us? How can a formal analysis of the work tell us? How can a formal analysis be useful?

  5. How are the various visual elements of the work arranged? What is it's composition?

  6. What materials is it made of? What is the medium?

  7. How have the artist or artists use these materials? what techniques were employed to make the work?

  8. Did someone ask the artist to create the work and pay for it? Who were the patrons?

  9. Why was it made? What's it's purpose? when was it first created?

  10. Was it created for a specific location, and did the artist adjust the composition for that location? Has the artist used collocation (placed in a way that it fits the environment)?

  11. What is the subject matter? What does it represent? What is it's iconography and iconology (what symbols does it use)?

  12. What can it tell us about the ideas, beliefs, or attitudes current in the period when it was created? What is it's historical significance and it's historical context?