South Bend Museum of Art Education Blog

A Place Where Art Education is Discussed and Explored!

Archive for June, 2011

SBMA Gets “Ugly”

It’s a tale that we can all somehow relate to, even if we’ve never read the book. Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” tells the story of a duckling immediately rejected at birth due to his outwardly “ugly” appearance. Ultimately transforming into a graceful swan, “Ugly” teaches everyone that beauty truly is found within.

It is this message of acceptance that was the theme for a community outreach project in which the South Bend Museum of Art teamed up with the City of South Bend, the South Bend Civic Theatre, and the Weed and Seed Alliance to lead children in the creation of a backdrop to complement South Bend Civic Theatre’s production of “Honk!” (a modern adaptation of Andersen’s “Ugly Duckling” story).

Through teamwork, story telling, and the creation of personal drawings, the children, as young as seven and as old as thirteen, developed interesting works of art based on what they took away from “The Ugly Duckling” story: accept people for who they are.

SEE MORE pictures from this project and LEARN MORE about it here.


Getting “Ugly” part 2

From ugly eggs hatching beautiful flowers to a black and grey plaid duckling to an egg literally hatching “love,” it seems as though every child who participated in the SBMA’s “Weed-N-Seed” project was able to relate to the message of “The Ugly Duckling”. And though their artwork revealed mixed visual images, in the end, their messages were clear: accept people for who they are, which was actually the title of one child’s artwork.

The fruits of their efforts came to life on Friday May 6th as the finished 16’ x 7’ backdrop was revealed at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for performance night. A colorful and childlike creation, the backdrop exists as a combination of everyone’s artwork. It features an “ugly” duckling swimming under a bright yellow sun with the message “accept people for who they are” floating in the clouds. Each child has a bit of him or herself in this artwork, whether it is in the painting, the drawing, or their actual signature as a stamped handprint. In the end, everyone, including the parents, were all smiles, because let’s face it – it just feels good to be a part of something.

SBMA Opens Ian Weaver Exhibit

SBMA Opens Ian Weaver Exhibit

Once upon a time, there was a neighborhood called Near West Side of Chicago. It was a land rich in cultures where immigrants of many races and colors lived, worked, and played. It was a community, where families took root and passed on traditions while learning about and even absorbing those of their neighbors. And then, the wicked bulldozers in their steeled armor arrived, and the houses and neighborhood of the Near West Side were destroyed.

Such an account of Chicago’s Near West Side may sound too much like a fable or fairy tale to many, but for Ian Weaver, depicting the history of this lost community is as much mythology, folklore, and fiction as it is representing facts. His exhibit, Ian Weaver: An Incomplete History (2004-2011), now on display at the South Bend Museum of Art, features works of art that reconstruct the story of the Near West Side neighborhood. Using the testimony and family documents he collected from his mother, Weaver found himself an artist, taking on the role of archivist. What emerged was a fictional history museum, showcasing handmade maps, documents, sculptures and textiles, whereby Weaver portrays and commemorates the life of this extinct Chicago community.

“My work is informed by the concepts of history, memory, and mythology…conceptually it is located in the territory of the constructed narrative,” Weaver says of his project. “I was empowered to re-imagine this lost history, rather than simply to record it.”

The Ian Weaver exhibit will be on display at SBMA from June 18-September 4, 2011.


Ian Weaver’s Artist’s Statement


Meet Our SBMA Staff Instructor of the Month!

Birgit Scott

 By: Jennifer Talvensaari


If I walked into your Art classroom, what should I expect to see?

We are fortunate to be able to hold our classes in the library where we sit in comfortable chairs around a large table. I bring the latest knitting magazines and a variety of knitting books to class besides yarns to use for practice and a supply of needles. I usually have knitted samples on hand to inspire students and I generally wear something I have designed and knitted myself.

 Tell us about your teaching experiences.

I am a foreign language teacher by profession- all levels from grade school through college and adult education. After I retired, I was thrilled to be able to teach my passion: knitting. I have given workshops at numerous knitting shops in several states, and have taught knitting classes at SBMA for about 10 years.


Art and Green Living Made Fun

Creating art with young children sometimes ends so quickly, we wonder if it’s worth all the effort. We set up the project, build the enthusiasm, navigate through the chaos, and then, suddenly, it’s all over. The child is happy, but we are left confused and wondering, “Was it worth it?”

Of course it is. But don’t allow yourself to forget that creating art with your child is about her, not you. Outcomes aren’t nearly as important as what the child gains from the experience—and that can happen in an instant. Art is process. Art happens when we provide the environment for our child to wonder, to explore, and when we give them the time to problem solve.

Green living is a popular topic right now, and as I was thinking about that and the arts and trying to avoid the obvious recycling projects, the infamous “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” TV commercials popped in my mind.

For a green living project that can provide several days of excitement for you and your child, CLICK HERE

What’s Fun, Creative and Green All Over?

The kids still may rush through the applying of color or building part of this project, but after the project is done and the paint put away, you’ll still have many fun days of anticipation together. Happy Creating!

What you need:
• Wheat berry seeds
• Spoon for dirt or digging
• Container: Potato, Garden Pot, or Old shoe
• Paint or markers to decorate container
• Googly eyes or cloves for eyes
• Tooth picks for potato legs

• Purchase seeds from health food store and soak overnight.
• Add more water to seeds and cover with newspaper, visit for more growing tricks.
• Select container: Potato, Garden Pot or Old Shoe.
• For potato, use spoon to dig out meat of potato to make room for grass to grow and decorate a face and legs using cloves, toothpicks and /or pipe cleaners.
• For garden pot, decorate with a fun face or colors that will help emphasize the green grass as it grows.
• For old shoe, clean and prepare for decoration. Place small plastic container in the heel for soil.
• Once seeds have sprouted, and container is decorated, add soil and sprouted seeds.
• Watch your homemade Chia pet grow within days!


Be sure to soak and prep your seeds for the best growing. Also talk about color and color mixing if you chose the garden pot. Have fun with this project and enjoy the many phases as you watch your art grow. For more activities and art resources visit and become a subscriber to our Learn More Blog.

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