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Artist In Residence: Julie Schachter

As the Artist-in-Residence at Montessori de Terra Linda, I have the rare pleasure of overseeing the creation of new, original artworks every day. I am continually impressed by the children’s innate abilities and their fast rate of improvement. In our art program, there is an emphasis on building the children’s drawing skills, beginning with the primary students. The aim is to teach them to sharpen their powers of observation and practice their eye-hand coordination so they can more accurately draw what they see.

"...Art-making simply takes practice. Even the youngest child can begin learning to see as an artist sees and to use their hands skillfully."
Julie Schachter
Montessori de Terra Linda's Artist-in-Residence
Most mornings I spend with students who have sent me notes via one of the Art Message mailboxes hanging outside the primary building or in the Elementary hallway. In response to these requests to make a specific picture or sculpture, I invite one or two children at a time to our spacious new art studio and together we brainstorm ways to accomplish their goal. Anytime during the day, Elementary students may drop in to consult with me or borrow tools or materials. Their projects are usually 2- or 3-dimensional visual aids to support research they are pursuing, which they will use to enhance their eventual presentations to the classes. I encourage all the children to do the hands-on work as independently as possible; it is their creation! Often our session is all about problem-solving and trouble-shooting. This didn’t work, so what else can we try? Sometimes we’re stumped, and it’s often the child herself who comes up with a new plan.

In weekly afternoon sessions, the Lower and Upper Elementary classes attend lessons in the art studio. With references to art history and the creative process, we study the styles of specific artists, past and present, and experiment with a full range of media as each student makes his/her own unique version of a master’s work. Besides drawing, painting, print-making and sculpture, the Elementary children have the option of trying their hand at ink-pen calligraphy, sumi-e (ink wash) brush painting, embroidery and machine sewing.

As with reading, writing, music, and all the other things children learn, art-making simply takes practice. Even the youngest child can begin learning to see as an artist sees and to use their hands skillfully.

I consider it a real privilege to witness my students’ excitement as they embark on their creative journey, and to see that look of pride and accomplishment when their vision is realized.
Julie Schachter, Montessori de Terra Linda's Artist-in-Residence

Artist-in-Residence: Julie Schachter
Julie Schachter earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts from Mills College. She has been teaching art to children of all ages for over 18 years, both in schools and in her private studio workshops, with a focus on drawing and multi-media problem-solving.