For four years, Paige Boyer, the art teacher at Bayless Elementary, had been dreaming of offering printmaking to the 800 first through fifth grade students she teaches. Her studio offered many art mediums for students to explore, but printmaking hadn’t been a possibility until she received a Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers grant for the 2018-2019 school year.

Boyer shared, “In this fast-moving world with phones and the internet, the process of printmaking slows students down. This time away from technology gives students a chance to work with their hands.”

As students learned how to use the gel plates and brayers, they could build on their printmaking by incorporating skills they’d already honed like drawing, collage and painting. It’s important to Boyer to offer her students new opportunities and ways to experiment. “Printmaking is an art form that can be revisited over and over with new results each visit,” Boyer said.

The printmaking studio became so popular that Boyer had to make a waiting list for each class. The first year of printmaking was a success and students will be able to continue learning ad growing with the tools and materials. Students also had a chance to show off their new skills this spring during parent teacher conferences when Boyer selected artwork from each grade to display.

Bayless Elementary School is one of the most diverse schools in Missouri with 47% of students coming from non-English speaking homes or backgrounds. At Bayless, they are always on the lookout for ways to celebrate that diversity in their daily routines. By studying printmakers from around the world students celebrated diversity and what makes people unique.

Across the Bi-state region, educators like Paige Boyer have used the arts to enhance students’ learning through the Maritz Arts and Education Fund with grants ranging between $500 and $5,000.

Applications for the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers are open through Sept. 6.

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