ABS Thursday Notes- January 28, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                             January 28, 2016




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein


Mozart describes his creative process in tidy terms: ideas offer themselves, buffet-like, as he strolls contentedly after dinner. He selects an appealing theme. This idea is placed on the storyboard in his nimble brain, and now secondary themes appear…from whence he cannot say…inspired by the first. Soon an entire symphony is laid out. Mozart fills in the details later and, voila!

Half a generation later, poor Beethoven sequesters himself doggedly with molding leftovers and an overflowing chamber pot, struggles, rants, curses, scratches out, shreds and finally gives hemorrhaging birth to new work, sometimes so radically fresh that it is rejected by his public only to be embraced as a masterpiece later.

When a work of art is collaborative though, agreement on the creative process may require a creative process of its own. UNCSA general studies teachers Dr.Mike Wakeford (humanities) and Dr. Janna Levin (physics) invited enthusiastic 6th grade teachers Danielle Tarmey and Yvonne Leab of The Arts Based School (“ABS”) to work with mixed media artist Jan Detter. The goal: create art inspired by science and the humanities. Mozart and Beethoven could select their personal routines, but this project required the participation of four teachers, over one hundred students spanning ages eleven through nineteen, and one courageous artist who would synthesize their many ideas.

The project had a basic, pre-existing structure, (as did the works of the classical composers.) A triptych of 8’x4’ mosaicked wooden panels would be created. Two would represent scientific studies of the physics of light, and one would represent light as a metaphor in philosophy. The murals would be mounted on an exterior wall at ABS, to be displayed at some future point at UNCSA. College students and 6th graders would interact in developing ideas for the science-based murals, and UNCSA humanities students would supply ideas for the mythological piece.

The team agreed that Jan Detter would meet students to introduce visual metaphor; a conceptual tool often used in science and fluidly transferrable into art. Dr. Wakeford’s class would read assigned materials, and meet with Ms. Detter to share ideas that might symbolize the metaphor of light in philosophy. Dr. Levin’s physics students would share their knowledge of light with the ABS 6th graders, who would visit them at UNCSA after studying light at ABS. Dr. Levin’s class would share numbers representing the speed of light through glass for Ms. Detter to incorporate. Ms. Detter would bring paper panels, discuss the concept of “iteration,” and encourage ideas to flow. Materials would be discussed. They might reflect or throw light. Some might be flat, others bulbous, but that was yet to be determined. Would they be twisted, strained, pushed to their limits? What would the materials represent? Ms. Detter encouraged robust ideas so that, when implemented and represented visually in mosaic, the students would recognize their own notions.

One teacher wanted more specifics. What did Ms. Detter have in mind, exactly? How would these murals look? Exactly how would they be constructed? Ms. Detter’s reply: Too soon to say. The students will bring the concepts, like Mozart’s after-dinner inspirations, and the artist will discover the works as they emerge from those ideas. Otherwise, it would only represent the artist’ vision and not the students’ input. The teacher struggled with this uncertainty, even considered withdrawing from the project. Ms. Detter embraced that worry. Anxiety, she maintained, is part of the artistic process. The teacher took a deep breath, summoned the courage to release rational thinking and embrace the intuitive process, and ultimately trusted the artist.

The animated student discussions took place. Ms. Detter made a serendipitous discovery of three large, child-like figures, cut from plywood, among dumpster-rescued items in her basement. The figures came to represent Particle Man (mosaicked with thousands of shimmering bits of glass, stones and mirror) Wave Man, (mosaicked with wave shaped bits of metal, glass, and sea shells, lips raised to a trumpet emitting multi-colored sound waves,) and The Young Gaia, (representing the metaphor of light in ancient myth, mosaicked with floating numbers representing the speed of light through glass, tiny letters revealing a quote by Einstein, as it underlines a large third eye, and flanked by a flaming lotus flower shooting sparks heavenward.)

Fifty sixth-graders helped glue the particles and waves to the boards. Ms. Detter finished the murals at her studio, and the three, 200+ lb. panels were mounted to the exterior walls of The Arts Based School with the help of an engineer and several other strong volunteers.

The result: vivid and jubilant pieces, linked thematically by ideas, form, and multimedia. They will be unveiled at ABS on Monday, February 1st during a brief ceremony at 1:00 p.m. and will remain visible to passers-by through the fence of the Art Garden facing Seventh Street, between Main and Chestnut.

This project was funded by a grant from the Reynolds American Foundation to ArtSTEM which explores intersections of arts, humanities, and STEM disciplines at UNCSA, and by the UNCSA Division of Liberal Arts and by The Arts Based School.


Snow Day Makeup Schedule

As outlined in our Snow Make Up policy, “up to three days will be forgiven and not required for staff or students to make up.          Additional days for both students and staff will be built into the approved calendar          each year, designated as possible make-up days.”    Because we were out for four snow days and three are forgiven, February 15, 2016 will be used to make up the fourth snow day.  If additional make-up days are required, we will use April 5, April 4, June 8, June 9, and June 10, in that order, as designated on our school calendar.


Congratulations to ABS Science Fair Winners!


1st – Emi Moss

2nd – Ruby Bell

3rd – Jacob Castillo


1st grade:

1st – Jackson Hudson

2nd – Jocelyn Blalock

3rd – Xander Rutter


2nd grade

1st – Cambria Rheinschild

2nd – Ellie Scott

3rd – Lily Lischke


3rd grade

1st – Ben Ekstein

2nd – Loie Jones

3rd – Kerith Bell


4th grade

1st – Malcolm Carter

2nd – Josie Scott

3rd – Elijah Kimball


5th grade

1st – Gavin Deibler

2nd – Eli Calhoun

3rd – Jayden Cohen


6th grade

no projects


7th grade

1st – Finn Lloyd-Gambill

2nd – Noah Morgan

3rd – Amelia Bowman


8th grade

1st – Mackenzie Wright

2nd – Gary Whitt

3rd – Chloe Hair


Congrats to ABS Spelling Bee winners

The ABS Spelling Bee was held on January 8th and everyone did a great job. Hudson Asbury was the school winner and Sadie Blalock was the runner-up. Hudson will move on to the district-level bee at the Winston-Salem Journal in February.


Raffle Tickets help fund ABS Hospitality!

ABS Hospitality hosts events throughout the year from new parent orientation to faculty and staff lunch on conference days. We rely on food contributions from families and the proceeds from the assistant principal raffle. Students from all grades may participate in the raffle and the money goes to a good cause. Drawings are held each month during First Friday Sing. You can purchase tickets at the front office of school before Friday Sing.



Parent Council Meeting February 12

Our next meeting is Friday, February 12 at 8:15 am in the teacher resource room of the MLK Building. If there is a topic you want considered for discussion, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Michelle Hopkins Lawrence (mhopkins@alumni.princeton.edu).


K-Kids Sponsors Read to Feed

Have you ever owned part of a cow? How about a llama? Well, you could now! The K-Kids are once again sponsoring the very popular  school-wide fund raiser for Heifer International called “Read to Feed.” Heifer International is an organization which contributes livestock and training to families in need around the world and helps them build sustainable businesses. Each child who participates will ask family and friends to donate a certain amount for each book he or she reads (or, for young students, for each book read to them) from now until Feb. 26, and that amount will go toward buying cows, chicken, sheep, goats or llamas for a family.

Begin gathering your sponsors. Now, let’s  READ, READ, READ!!!!!!!


ABS Garden Work Day

Saturday, January 30

9:00 am to 1:00 pm

It should be great weather for working outside this Saturday. Bring your kids, your gloves, and a snack.  We’ll be pruning, mulching, and maybe even planting daffodils.   RSVP to Matt Mayers (mlmayers@gmail.com)


Volunteer Hours

We are over halfway through our approximate 40 weeks of school!  Our volunteer policy requires one hour of volunteer time/child/week (40 hours for the school year).  Now is a great time to review your volunteer hours by logging onto HelpCounter.  Need assistance with your account?  Contact Stephanie LeFever in the front office (slefever@artsbasedschool.com).


Activity Fee Due

Each family is asked to pay $15.00 per semester per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities.  Fees are due at the start of each semester.  Second semester activity fees are due now.  Please make checks payable to ABS and turn into Ms. Wise in the front office.


Student Intent for 2016-2017 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2016–2017), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement.  You should have already received an email from Helpcounter requesting your intent for the 2016-2017 school year.  Please reply to the email as soon as possible.  Your intent must be received before February 1st so we know to hold a space for your child.


Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2016-17 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 5 @ 3pm



Around Town…

Avalon Cotillions is a social dance program directed by Ann Guill, who also brings the Dancing Classrooms program to ABS for 5th graders.  Fifth grade and middle school students are invited to attend fun and educational Avalon Cotillions classes on 5 Sundays, as well as a special dinner etiquette class and a dinner dance on March 11.  Some scholarships are available.  For further information, please call Ann Guill at 336-409-0672.



5th Annual Winter Retrospective, in collaboration with SECCA, highlights Authoring Action’s teen authors’ accomplishments through spoken word arts, music and film throughout the year! 


When: February 2016 

Where: SECCA, 750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem  

Dates: *4 dates/2 Weekends:

Saturday, February 20th @ 6:00pm &Sunday, February 21st @ 3:00pmAND Saturday, February 27th @ 6:00pm & Sunday, February 28th @3:00pm 

Cost: Tickets: $10 in advance and $15 at the door! Proceeds benefit Authoring Action & SECCA. 


Purchase your tickets today at: