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Young artists show off their work at museum gallery opening

The DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville recently opened a new Good Show! Gallery featuring the artwork of five second-grade classrooms from Steeple Run Elementary School in Naperville.

Last month, 108 students worked with the museum’s Arts & Maker specialist Dustin Thacker and local artist Benjamin Calvert to create their very own print.

More than 125 children and adults attended the opening night ribbon cutting where the young artists were eager to show off their creations.

“Working through the printmaking process offered students the opportunity to express their creativity in new and exciting ways,” Thacker said. “Given the chance to work with a professional artist, students are able to broaden their artistic horizons, see themselves as artists, and celebrate the joy of creating.”

Steeple Run Elementary art teacher Laura Dostal, Arts & Maker specialist Dustin Thacker, and artist Benjamin Calvert, right, worked with second-grade students to create prints to be hung in the DuPage Children’s Museum’s Good Show! Gallery.
– Courtesy of DuPage Children’s Museum

The children worked through a multistep process to create their art.

First they drew a design on a piece of cardboard, then traced the drawing in glue, and applied a piece of string in the shape of the design — creating a printing block.

Next, they applied ink to the string on the printing block using a roller and placed paper on top of the inked printing block and pressed down evenly. Voila! The first print, an artist’s proof, was revealed!

Having grown up in Naperville, Calvert jumped on the opportunity to share his passion for printmaking with families as the artist-in-residence at DuPage Children’s Museum. He has always been “keen to help others and share his knowledge.”

Calvert has taught classes at the Elmhurst Art Museum and was hired as an instructor at the DuPage Art League.

Displays of children’s artistic expression are often limited to the family refrigerator. Imagine, as a child, having your artwork hanging in a real art gallery! It doesn’t happen every day, except for the artists whose work appears in the museum’s Good Show! Gallery.

The programming offers special opportunities for area students, their families, and museum staff to investigate the impact art creation has on critical thinking and skill development. Targeting Title 1 Schools, the museum’s Arts & Maker specialist works closely with school administrators and teachers to develop art projects that support art, math, science, and literacy curriculum.

Everything the museum does is framed through the lens of relationships, play, and joyful learning. The Good Show! Gallery is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the museum is able to offer extraordinarily learning experiences through community philanthropic support. To support these learning opportunities at DuPage Children’s Museum, visit dupagechildrens.org/give/.

For details, visit www.dupagechildrens.org or call (630) 637-8000.

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