by Ashley Lodato
Education Director, Methow Arts Alliance
Every good farmer knows that selling your products requires proper marketing. You want to attract people to your booth, provide them with a visual representation of what you’re selling, and demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about your produce.
In a recent Methow Arts residency with teaching artist Judith Robertson, Methow Valley 4th graders created beautiful fabric banners to showcase the fruits and vegetables that they and other students grew in the school garden.
First, Robertson worked with Classroom in Bloom staff, who manage the school garden, to divide students into groups, each of which would focus on a particular type of crop: alliums (onion, etc), roots and leaves (lettuce, carrots, etc), nightshades (eggplants, tomatoes, etc), and fruits & tubers (apples, potatoes, etc).
Next, students worked in their small groups to pencil sketch their products onto large banners, cut from repurposed sheets donated by Hotel Rio Vista.When the sketches were complete, they diluted acrylic paint with water so it would absorb into cotton fabric, and began painting their banners in vibrant colors. When the paint was dry, the final step was outlining the fruits and vegetables in black permanent marker.
The banners are used in the annual school garden Farmers Market for parents and community members. After the market, the banners are moved into the school cafeteria, where the vivid colors of the autumn harvest brighten up even the darkest winter day.
This residency was brought to students by Methow Arts’ Okanogan Region Arts Education Partnership. The partnership serves more than 5,200 students and 370 teachers across Okanogan County with arts programs in classrooms in the Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Bridgeport, Pateros, and Methow School Districts, and in the Paschal Sherman Indian School. Residency sponsors in the Methow Valley include the the Public School Funding Alliance, ArtsWA, the Methow Valley School District, Icicle Fund, the Robert B. McMillen Foundation, and the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. Special thanks to Hotel Rio Vista in Winthrop for donating the sheets used to create the banners.
INFO: Methow Arts Alliance, 509.997.4004, email@example.com