Silverton Middle School art program soars

The Silverton Middle School art program has taken wings thanks to art teacher Shana Chandler who has been working with students to help beautify their new school and create a sense of pride.

With help from Silverton artist Ann Altman and a small arts grant, the renovated Schlador Street building that now houses the middle school has a new Falcon logo and a series of “winged” murals that the students helped create to decorate the gym walls. Each student created a feather design to include in falcon wing murals. These projects are only part of a visual master plan Chandler has created to inspire a creative and welcoming learning environment.

Chandler, a graphic designer and former marketing executive, found her passion teaching art after years in a high level corporate position. She decided to get her teaching license after working as a school artist in residence.

“This was a huge shift for me and I love it,” said Chandler. “Creating art through students is so rewarding.”

Silverton art community supports students

According to Chandler, the Silverton art community has also helped expand the SMS art program by hosting gallery field trips and teen art shows. Lunaria Gallery, Boreland Gallery and Silverton Art Associates are making it possible for students to learn gallery etiquette, write critiques and show their work.

Students weigh in on SMS art program

SMS students seem to love being part of the art program and learning from Chandler.

“I like the idea of being able to express yourself with your hands instead of words,” said SMS art student Elayne Short, grade 8. “I think Ms. Chandler is really great. A lot of students call her mom. If you ask for her help, she really gives you a lot of insights on art. She knows how to help with any medium; pencil, pen and ink, acrylic paint, water color.”

Exploring the digital art world

Falcon artists are also using iPads to explore reference materials, build digital portfolios and learn graphic design and photography skills.

“Art is meant to be shared which is why each of our art students has a digital portfolio in the online art museum called Artsonia,,” said Chandler. “This way they are not only creating art, they are also learning how to assess and write about their art and the work of their peers. Through Artsonia, students use the iPad to upload their art, post artist statements and connect with other student artists from all over the world. Parents and relatives also actively participate by viewing and commenting on student portfolios.”

The students currently share iPads, but Chandler’s goal is to raise funds to purchase a classroom set of ipads for the art program so students have easy access to the digital art world.

To view the SMS online student art gallery, visit artsonia.com and search for Silverton Middle School.