Brewster 5th graders unite poetry with painting

Spring 2019

Each winter, Brewster 5th graders participate in a 5-week poetry residency, working with Methow Arts teaching poet Kelleigh McMillan. Students become familiar with “painting pictures with words” and with relating their emotions to the natural world. Each week they experiment with a different poetic concept: simile, metaphor, free verse, stanza, etc. Students write poems about their bedrooms, about particular months, about the seasons, and about favorite colors.

“Pink feels like bubble gum in my mouth,” writes one student.

“Red feels like prickly dots,” writes another.

As students explore expressing emotions through poetry, they craft lines like “I know there is a rainbow somewhere in my head” and “I am half of 20 butterflies, fluttering in my stomach.”

After the poetry is complete, students work with artist Bruce Morrison to draw pictures of their poems using oil pastels, then cover their pictures with a watercolor wash–a “resist” technique, where the oil pastels are impervious to the watercolors and thus “resist” absorbing the watercolors, creating interesting texture and color. The poems are collected and put into small books, and a copy of each book is given to each classroom, with the artwork used as covers.

Today my heart is a ghost town with a tumble weed as its only resident. 

~ Haakon Odion 


This residency was created by Methow Arts Alliance and is sponsored by the Community Foundation of North Central WAWebster Furniture, Confluence Health, the Brewster School District, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ArtsWA.

CONTACT: Methow Arts Alliance, 509.997.4004,