Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, McMaster Museum of Art (MMA) education staff partnered with Hess Street School elementary teachers Christine Wilson and Lorraine Cooper to provide a new program of integrated cross-curricular lessons for students. MMA education officer Teresa Gregorio brought the museum to school in a series of class visits. The program included a variety of hands-on lessons and skill-building opportunities, culminating in a linocut printmaking art project.
Being cross-curricular in nature, the final art project tied directly to the students’ English lessons, where the Hess Street teachers addressed environmental stewardship content through the poem “Dreamer” by Brian Moses.
“They produced a fantastic body of work, each with a unique approach and perspective,” said Gregorio. “Seeing all the prints together, it’s almost unbelievable that this was their first time carving lino!”
Here you see the student art displayed for the first time:
Art by Lorraine Cooper’s 5/6 class:
Art by Christine Wilson’s 6/7 class:
This program was funded through the McMaster University Office of Community Engagement.
About the printmaking process
Linocut is a novel form of artmaking for many students, with a high degree of complex thinking skills involved in planning, designing, and creating the prints. As with other printmaking, linocuts have to be designed and carved as mirror images of the intended and ultimate work, so the Hess Street students had to plan around flipping letters, words, and designs, all while learning to use the professional level carving tools for the first time.
The magic and strength of printmaking is iteration; each step of the way the students tested and judged their prints, making any desired adjustments to their linocut, and then testing that new print out. They experienced the real trial and error, and magic moment involved in carving a plate and seeing it come to life when the first print is pulled.
The programme continues
The closures due to COVID-19 meant that the students were not able to display their work in the museum’s Education Gallery as originally planned, but Gregorio and the Hess Street teachers are working together to plan for 2020-2021.