Connaught fundraiser brings local artists into classroom

By Daphne Guerrero – 

Three hundred and forty bowls.

That’s approximately how many bowls Connaught School students will have hand-painted by the end of February in support of their annual Stone Soup fundraiser.

The Stone Soup fundraiser has been a popular community event for over ten years, featuring bowls hand-painted by students and a variety of soups and breads donated by local restaurants and bakeries including Thyme and Again, East India Company and the Hintonburg Public House.

Each year, the school welcomes parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours who come to purchase the bowls, sample some of the excellent soups on offer, and enjoy a fun evening in support of  Connaught.

This year, Stone Soup organizers added another dimension to the event, inviting local artists (like Miriam Bloom with students from Anne Sherman’s grade three/four class, pictured below) to help classes paint their bowls.

Artist Miriam Bloom with Connaught P.S. students. Photo by Julie McIsaac
Artist Miriam Bloom with Connaught P.S. students. Photo by Julie McIsaac

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids to learn different artistic techniques and styles and, more broadly, explore the roles artists can play in our community and our life,” says Danica Rogers, one of the parent volunteers organizing the event.

A sampling of bowls from different classes reveals indigenous Australian dot art, watercolour pastel washes in pinks and greens, bold geometric shapes.

Artists were as varied in their approaches with the kids as their approaches to art: Pat Hendry, a former teacher and principal, told grade three students the original Stone Soup folktale and gave the class one of her oil paintings. Jay Anderson, another former teacher, drew and explained the colour wheel to a rapt audience of fourth-graders. Miriam Bloom spoke of the importance of planning and reflecting on the image before starting to paint. Rosie Cusson sang a song about colours to an engaging group of kindergartners.

Julie McIsaac, a parent volunteer who helped out with the classroom painting sessions, says the artists left a strong impression on the students, with many students eager to share their own experiences creating and enjoying art.

“Having working artists in the classroom brought the process to life for the students,” she says. “Art is clearly valued at Connaught, and students took great pride in calling themselves artists too.”

As for the artists, Julie feels they benefitted from a closer connection to the community they call home. Miriam Bloom, for example, has already made plans with teacher Anne Sherman for another visit.

Connaught School’s fundraiser gets underway on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. Bowls will be available for purchase at the event. The evening will feature musical entertainment, a bake sale (for dessert!), and a raffle featuring some fantastic items donated by Kitchissippi businesses like Twiss&Weber, Victoire, Holland’s Cake and Shake and Terra20.

For more information, visit connaughtparents.wordpress.com.

Daphne Guerrero is a parent at Connaught PS and a member of the organizing committee for the Stone Soup fundraiser.

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