Teacher Connects with Students through Art

By: Apache Junction Unified School District
APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. - May 14, 2020 - PRLog -- During the COVID-19 pandemic the world has become more isolated. The current situation is especially disturbing to students in grades K-12.

However, one way to toss an emotional lifeline, as well as provide an outlet is through art. Juli Runberg teaches art to students at Four Peaks Elementary School in Apache Junction. While nearly all children enjoy the subject, its value to education and the human psyche runs deep.

"Art is a form of communication and connection," said Runberg. "It is a way to connect with the cultures of people who have lived before us, through Art History. It also helps with problem-solving and decision making; therefore it can help students learn better in other subjects, especially science."

Runberg enjoys combining art and science in her lessons – especially environmental science.

At the beginning of the school closure Runberg inquired about possible venues to display student art so the children's creations could be showcased. The suggestion gave birth to the virtual AJUSD Art Gallery. Nearly 50 entries have been submitted to an online slideshow and the number is increasing.

Submissions include pictures of a variety of projects that run the gamut from drawings, sketches and painting to designs out of shells, plants, stones and bricks. Clothing and shoe designs are also on display.  The artwork can be viewed on the AJUSD website at https://www.ajusd.org/domain/1923

Student art projects have escalated throughout the district since the school closure. The results have been stimulating and therapeutic. The increase in art expression comes as no surprise to Runberg.

"Art helps us be more human," said Runberg. "Art deals with feelings and emotions, and it's a way to de-stress. For some students it may be the only subject they excel at. We all need something we are amazing at doing."

When it comes to her own amazing talents, Runberg, who is an Apache Junction resident, likes to think inside and outside of the box – literally. She enjoys creating 3-D and assemblage art by taking a box and creating an environment inside it. She also has experience as a graphic artist, an illustrator creating logo and typeface design, as well as map drawing. She also sculpts in clay, does collage work, paints, draws portraits in chalk and works with fabric for wall hangings or art quilts.

Runberg is retiring from AJUSD at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but for the past three years she has guided her Four Peaks Roadrunners to use a palette of skills to think inside and outside of the box and tap into their amazing potential as budding artists and human beings.

For more information visit www.ajusd.org.

Sally Marks
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Tags:Art Education
Location:Apache Junction - Arizona - United States
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