Art at Madison Lutheran

Although we never had an "art teacher" at Madison Lutheran, we had many interesting opportunities to try to develop our artistic talents.

Since we were basically in self-contained classrooms, the regular classroom teacher handled most classes, including art. I remember a few of our art projects, like weaving book markers, soap carving, tearing vegetable shapes out of construction paper, making posters, learning how to enlarge cartoons and a Christmas card, learning how to draw "perspective," etc. I still have a few of my art projects from 7th and 8th grade!

Perhaps our only "real" art teacher back then was Jon Gnagy who had a weekly 10 minute television broadcast in the late '50's until the mid '60's, Learn to Draw. He began each program with "If you can draw these simple forms: the ball, cone, cube and cylinder, you can draw a real picture the very first time you try." I remember having his kit and I am sure several of the drawings in my art folder were from his book.

Gnagy's granddaughter developed a website in his memory, 60th Anniversary: America's Original Television Art Teacher. There are even some of his television programs embedded on this interesting site!

One of the art projects in 7th grade (I think) was to cut erasers to make "rubber stamps." Below are examples of my attempts at that project. I was never much of an artist. 😄

I remember most the art projects in Mr. Stolper's seventh grade class. I still have a folder labeled "grade school art" with some of my attempts at art from seventh and eighth grade. One that wasn't saved was from Mr. Behrens' class. It was a poster where I misspelled "safety." I cut out letters that said, "Safty First." Our artwork was often displayed and Mr. Stolper came into our room for something, noticed it, and embarrassed me about it.

Several art projects in Mr. Stolper's class included learning to draw perspective. We drew a picture of a train approaching (with telephone poles along the track), another picture of a train coming around a bend to a train station, and also a city street in perspective. There was also a winter scene with a mailbox along a curved driveway to a single house. (I found that picture in my folder of art, and a more professional version on the internet, a page from the Gnagy kit.)

Other projects we did included drawing the alphabet in 3-D and then our name on a half sheet of paper using the same 3-D alphabet, a poster that said "Eat Right," another food picture with the fruits and vegetables torn out rather than cut, a folded paper/cutting project making a connected string of the same object and using a single-edge razor blade to design rubber stamps out of an eraser. I remember cutting my finger on that one! We also did a soap carving and a pencil drawing of a fancy '50's model car with a man standing next to it. His hands are behind the car in my drawing - I could never draw hands. Or horses!

My favorite art projects were learning to enlarge another picture. We drew a grid over a picture and a larger grid on a piece of paper. First we worked at copying cartoons and then we were to enlarge a greeting card. I chose a Christmas card and actually saved what I did more than 50 years ago. I am including a link to my 7th grade attempt. Anyone with memories of art projects is invited to share their memories and also send a piece of artwork from their days at Madison Lutheran. Email it to Judy Kuster



(open for submissions)

Judy Maginnis (Kuster)


added April 5, 2009