Yesterday, Dec. 5, marked the opening of the Studio 4 RANDOM ORDER art show, an annual exhibition of work from the Grinnell Area Arts Council’s after-school arts class for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. The show includes pieces on canvases made of recycled fabric boards, and the students were given jewels, pompoms, bubble wrap, Mylar, VHS tape and paint—their favorite supplies, according to their teacher Alesia Lacina—to decorate. The show will be up in the Arts Center building, 926 Broad St., until Friday, Dec. 20.

According to an announcement for the show, the students were given “the instruction to build a canvas of any shape and then create some order using the random objects.” The results that came from this project are various and wonderfully creative—a few are splattered all over with many different colors of paint, others are largely covered in the VHS tape or pompoms. Each piece is very different from the others and you can see that each student did have a guiding idea when they set out to make their project.

“All of the students approached the challenge in their own way, and they all came up with their own solution,” Lacina said in the press release.

Lacina has been volunteering with the arts classes and arts summer camp for several years now and also helps with many other Arts Council programs, including work with the Grin City Collective, which is actually located on the farm she owns with her husband, Tom.

The after-school arts class enrolls students every semester who come two to five days each week for two-hour sessions to work on art projects.

“[The goal is] to provide kids of all backgrounds an opportunity to explore their own creativity,” said Kate Baumgartner ’11, Arts Center Coordinator.

After structured work on assigned projects, the students often get free time, as well, to work on whatever comes to their minds.

“[Free time] is kind of their favorite, they get really excited. They’re just bursting with their own creativity, so they really like the opportunities when they’re allowed to just let loose and make what they want,” Baumgartner said. “They tend to be little scientists. They take different materials and combine them, put things together that you never would have imagined, just to see what comes out and what they can do with it.”

The students started working on these pieces a few weeks ago, but had been thinking about and anticipating them even earlier.

“I think they tend to put a little bit more effort into these projects because they know they’re going to be on display and they get really excited about that … even a few months ahead,” Baumgartner said.

The after-school arts program has become very successful and will be expanding next semester to accommodate the large number of students trying to register. They will be hiring more teachers, as well as adding a movement and performance aspect to the program, because many students in the arts classes also have an interest in theatre and participate in the Arts Council’s Neverland Jr. Players program.

“We’re expanding the program … to foster more of their creativity in different ways,” Baumgartner said.Art - Matt Huck