Saturday, September 8, 2012

In the Art Room: The Masterpiece Gallery

Welcome to the Masterpiece Gallery where every work of art created by small hands is tres magnifique.
 If you are a teacher for more than 10 minutes, you are going to be the recipient of many a gift. My personal faves? Well, aside from the Body Fantasies Body Wash I received my first year teaching (awkward), I'd have to say the handmade gifties. Just recently one of my students gifted me a wonderful woven basket she had created over the summer. I also scored this beautiful bouquet of gingko leaves collected by a student who remembered they were my favorite during our leaf printing last year.
This window looks into my office which is an eyesore, to say the least. I painted it (almost 10 years ago!) with the same thing I painted my other windows with: Window Chalk. I love this vibrant paint.
 The gifts I most often receive are drawings. The wee artists will bring them rolled up; folded and pulled from their pocket; flattened in a "special" zip lock bag. Students present these drawings in front of the class where we recognize them with a round of applause.

At first, I pinned their drawings to a bulletin board. Over time, this overcrowded spot became an eyesore in the classroom. And I didn't want their hard work to be showcased that way.
So I decided to create this little gallery to spotlight their independent work. Several years ago, a local frame shop went out of business and I was the recipient of many a frame. Over the years, I've picked up more at Goodwill and garage sales. Each frame is backed with a layer of cardboard and a jersey fabric in the primary colors. This surface is perfect for pinning and repinning little masterpieces.
Interested in creating your own Masterpiece Gallery? Well, it's very simple. Here's what you'll need:
  • Cheapo picture frames. I like mine metallic, so I usually spray paint them gold or silver.
  • Cardboard or foamcore. You'll notice I recycle my cardboard. Nothin' fancy here.
  • Thin sheets of cork. This is optional. When I first created these, I sandwiched a layer of cork between the jersey and the fabric. Turns out the cardboard works just as well for pinning and repinning.
  • Fabric. I used a jersey because it's what I had on hand. 
  • Glue gun.
  • Picture frame hangers. This will depend on the type of frame you pick up at your local thrift. It may already have a hanging device on the back.
Let's start with the frames. Remove the glass, artwork and backing if you purchased a frame that was not empty. I keep the glass, tape the edges and use them for palettes at home. Depending on the artwork that came in the frame, I'll either keep it or toss it. In the case of the above artwork on the right, I was able to use that as the backing for the frame. Cut cardboard or foamcore and cork (if you are using it) to the same size as the frame backing. Cover the front in fabric and hot glue to the back.

Place inside the frame. To secure, look at your frame. It might already have a way for you to secure the backing. If you look at the above frame on the left, I simply had to push the metal staples down. For the frame on the right, I just screwed the original backing into place. For the one in the middle, I hammered nails at an angle to secure the backing. 

The same goes for the hanging device. You can see the frame on the left has a mount already attached. For the one in the middle, I purchased hanging wire and stapled it into place with my electric stapler (best invention every, btw). Do you see the bits of foam I tacked to the corners? That's to hold the double sided tape. This prevents the frames from getting bumped and becoming an uneven mess on the wall.
I have found these little hangers to be the best for my concrete walls. Picked them up at the local hardware. Ask for concrete/brick picture hangers.

The ever-changing, always-inspiring Masterpiece Gallery.

You might recognize this area as where we play The Smartest Artist from this post.
Our little gallery is located in this odd corner I have in my room where the kids line up to exit. It's the perfect spot for them to see their classmates work and become inspired to create something of their own. And isn't that what a gallery is all about?

What ways have you found to display artwork?  I'd love to hear your ideas!



8 comments:

  1. I think your blog is very inspiring, i enjoyed reading it. Lets follow each other!
    http://babyemilycloset.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. I love your gallery! I would love to have a corner of my room look like that! I do the hang my gifted drawings on my desk/wall space. You have inspired me to come up with something new! Thanks for sharing it! :)

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  3. I love this idea! What a great room you have, too! Thanks for sharing!

    Erin

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  4. Great idea about the hangers. I've been trying to figure out how to hang on these concrete walls.

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  5. How do you know when to take them down and return them?

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  6. What is with the girls vs. the boys thing?

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  7. What is with the girls vs. the boys thing?

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    Replies
    1. It's called The Smartest Artist! You can read more about it here: http://cassiestephens.blogspot.com/2012/01/smartest-artist.html

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