Mrs. Vecchioni's Art Room


Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
—Grandma Moses


There are so many exciting new projects in the art room this year! mcaExplore Mrs. Vecchioni’s website, stop in room 112B or next time you see me, ask me what’s going on—I love sharing the great things Waters School students are doing! Email me if you have any input, ideas or feedback—I look forward to hearing from you. 

Look at our Waters Fine Arts Digital Gallery (click on artsonia link at left) to see some of the exciting projects students are creating in art class!

Check it out! Paul Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist is at the Art Institute of Chicago,

This show will be the springboard to our 2017-2018 1st Semester Art Exhibit (Date TBA)! We will sample Paul Gauguin’s exploration of a variety of media and indigenous art forms throughout his lifetime with emphasis on his artworks created while in Tahiti. We will compare his artworks to Maori and other inspirational ancient and contemporary Oceanic artworks…and even Disney’s Moana…

Paul Gauguin, ca.1891-1893, Tehura (Teha'amana), polychromed pua wood ...Maori dancers | Maori faces | Pinterest... Meka — Just wrapped up this fan art for the 2016 Disney movie Moana



Check out last semester’s events below—


Please join us!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

February 14, 2017


Kinetic Art Exhibit and Chinese New Year Parade!

Please come and celebrate the Year of the Golden Rooster with us!

Chicago Maker Faire: The Greatest Show on Earth!

McCormick Place, Chicago

April 22-23, 2017

Please join us as we LAUNCH our 2016/2017 STEAM projects and activities to the larger Chicago Maker community at McCormick Place. To find out more information about this fabulous event, please see

Make & Play Day 2: Cardboard Fun for the Whole Family!

April 29, 2017

9AM-12PM, Annex - Copy

Global Cardboard Challenge:

***Please bring cardboard, box cutters, scissors and any sort of tape (duct, masking, washi) that you may have around the house to our event! If you don’t have any cardboard etc.—just bring your imagination! All other materials will be provided:). Early registration is not mandatory. We will meet in the Annex at 9AM. Please Join Us! ***

To learn more about the Maker Movement and the inspiration for our Leonardo’s Workshop (Makerspace) in the art room, please see .

Leonardo’s Workshop Maker Camp Session 2: January 23-March 27, 2017

(No Camp on 2/20)

Leonardo’s Workshop Maker Camp Session 3: April 3-June 12, 2017

(No Camp on 4/10 & 5/29)

2nd Semester Annual Outsider Artist All-School Visual and Digital Arts Exhibit

June 9, 2017


End-of-Year Maker Fest Celebration

June 19, 2017


All three sessions of Maker Campers are invited to attend. Fest studios include garden sunprints, inspirational rock art, garden land art installations, bubble POP art and Maker rootbeer floats! Join us on the patio—rain or shine!

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

756 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60642

June 3-July 4, 2017

Please join us as Room 204 LAUNCHES their ephemeral Sauganash land art installations at the one of the premier galleries  for Outsider Art in the nation! We will pay homage to Emmer Sewell in our installations. For more about Intuit, For more about Emmer Sewell,

Any questions? Please email Mrs. Vecchioni at



HUGE thanks to the artists and volunteers that made 2016/2017 class projects, pop-up galleries, family art workshops, all-school exhibits and digital visual art portfolios for every student such a success! We couldn’t have done it without you! An additional tremendous thank you to all of the families that have donated to the art room’s recent Donor’s Choose proposals. Your generosity is truly appreciated. Please take a moment to check out student artworks (current and archived) at

Thank you for your support!

Mrs. Vecchioni

*Special thank yous to our 2016-2017 Visual Arts Team from Rooms 306 and 312 for your support as Art Buddies for our Kindergartners and 1st graders and helping prepare for our International Dot Day Exhibit, Make and Play Day’s Global Cardboard Challenge and the Chinese New Year celebration!*



2016/2017 LEONARDO’S WORKSHOP! Design Theory, Tinkering, LAUNCHing…

We have LAUNCHed our first designated Makerspace at our school and appreciate your commitment to making this possible. Check out more about Leonardo’s Workshop at


Special thanks to Liten C. who, instead of asking for birthday presents on her 6th birthday, asked her friends to donate to our Makerspace grant for the art room and to Tommy S. who donated all of his yard sale earnings to the visual art department. Such kindness and generosity are an inspiration to all of us.

Please see Ms. Smith’s recent Green Notes post for more about this exciting new adventure


healing classroomsThank you to everyone who participated in our Healing Classrooms Challenge! We added our handmade, original pinwheels to the hundreds of others being created by Students Rebuild teams around the nation. Our efforts have raised $252.00 for children in Syria that have been displaced due to war and unsafe living conditions in their homeland. In addition, our Art In Action activity created new 126 pinwheel toys for children to play with! We will continue our partnership with Students Rebuild in 2017. We will announce our next challenge soon!

2015/2016 CHOICE-BASED STUDIOS & THE ARTWORK OF GAYLEEN AIKEN: Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Artists Teacher Fellowship Proposal

20160525_113033-1_resizedintuit1Ms. Zelle and I began this project as professional exploration of creating more choice-based opportunities for student learning and as a way for students to make art with limited adult guidance/influence/interference—aiming to provide an artistic environment similar self-taught artists’ freedom to create…


We feel so fortunate to have been awarded an Intuit Fellowship for the 2015/2016 school year because it was a great way to collaborate with passionate educators around the District, learn about new educational theory, see new art on teacher field trips (:)) and —best of all—our students were able to exhibit their artworks in a real art museum in Chicago for an authentic audience!


5th grade students in Room 308 worked in choice-based studios throughout the project in order to make independent creative decisions as artists. Choice-based studios provided diverse students the freedom to determine the best fit for their learning styles, interests and ability levels. Students chose their own media and methods to create at least one narrative self portrait using an art-making method beloved by Gayleen Aiken—comics, scrapbooking/collage, narrative painting and /or 3D cardboard construction. Students chose their brainstorming method to begin their artwork and evaluated their own artwork. These choice-based opportunities demonstrated the investigative processes found in artistic experience and all meaningful learning.


More choice-based projects and opportunities (and authentic audience experiences) are planned for the upcoming school year. To learn more about choice-based art education and Teaching For Artistic Behavior (TAB), please see



Our 2015 Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (C.A.P.E.) La Peña en La Floresta mosaic camp was a huge success! Over seventy-five artists of all ages came together to create an amazing new public art installation for the main entrance to our school!


The original organic tile and mirrored rendering was inspired by our garden ecology curriculum, 1st graders’ native leaf sketches and mosaic campers’ prairie flower illustrations. In addition to our new main entrance, we created sculptural towers that are installed in our nearby monarch butterfly garden. Both public art installations pay homage to outsider artist Simon Rodia’s Nuestro Pueblo. (Nuestro Pueblo is also known as Watts Towers.) We are hopeful that these collaborative artworks will celebrate the creative spirit of our Waters School community for years to come!


We would like to thank all of our community artists and give special appreciation to the talents of Bill Keller, Clayton Miller and our extraordinary artists-in-residence, Victoria Mendoza and Juan Carlos Perez! Huge gratitude to Mrs. Crespo, Ms. Alvarez and everyone at C.A.P.E for their vision and determination to make this community art making opportunity possible!


La Peña en La Floresta is dedicated to the children of Waters Fine Arts School in loving memory of Joanne Nguyen (2001-2015).

mosaic camp 2011

 Other Recent Outdoor Mosaic Projects (See sidebar to learn about these projects.)



Banner(1)Our Me & We: Exploring Identity and Community with Vivian Maier project defined and demonstrated student identity as individuals and as a community (as 5th graders, as members of Waters School and as Chicago youth). Students in Room 308 illustrated their own interpretations of identity by creating a series of narrative photographs documenting themselves— in self-portraiture, school community vignettes and neighborhood street photography.



This practice shared research and interpretation of Vivian Maier’s distinctive presence as an outsider (self-taught) artist who utilized her camera lens as a medium to share her vision and frame her experience. These Me & We discoveries have become photographic documents of how our students identify our time and space and their place in it. Photographic documentation included personal portfolios, in-school permanent exhibition and outdoor neighborhood community banners as well as exhibit at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Artists last May.


2014 Creative Schools Fund Arts Innovate Award & K-8 World Dance Partnership

Stepping Up: Around the World with Patterns, Lines and Forms! was a tremendous arts integration experience for Waters Fine Arts School students, teachers and community at large. In this program, we explored the evolution of contemporary American dance by discovering its roots in West Africa, its journey to the Americas through the Caribbean and to its most recent form— found in urban youth culture interpretations on the streets of the New York City in the 1970s and Chicago today.Creative-Schools-Chart - Copy

All of our 600+ students, in grades K-8, experienced dance instruction in a variety of dance forms including folkloric dance of Guinea (grades K-2), Cuba and Haiti (grades 3-5) and contemporary American breaking/break dancing (grades 6-8). Our “math in motion” partnership with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (CAPE) and individual dance artists (Errin Berry/Muntu Dance Theatre, Kathleen Turner/Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Amansu Eason/Muntu Dance Theatre, and Mikey Rioux/The Sho) was an intensive 10 week dance immersion during physical education class.

Experiences for students included dance instruction in each specific form, mathematics instruction taught through dance integration and written reflection of dance forms and mathematics integration in weekly student journals. Our students explored movement and learned dance skills throughout the 10 week residency and were able to incorporate these experiences into improvisional final dance creations that showcased newly acquired dance and mathematical knowledge to our entire school community.

Stepping Up: Around the World with Patterns, Lines and Forms! was a huge success for all stakeholders at our school and we look forward to finding new ways for our students to experience dance instruction on a daily basis due to the enthusiasm and learning that was evident throughout our 2013-2014 Creative Schools Arts Innovate Program. (A DVD of the final performances is available! See Mrs. Vecchioni for more information.)

2012/2013 Rivers of Our Ancestors, Our Homelands and Our World!

6th grade Fine Arts & Technology Integration Project with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra!

Rivers of Our Ancestors, Our Homelands and Our World was an  arts integration extravaganza with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) that was featured at the Chicago Cultural Center and on the CSO’s website as a component of the CSO’s Chicago River Festival. Students were part of an award-winning documentary that shared the importance of rivers to our community and humanity. They even had a chance to meet Yo-Yo Ma. Read more about this exciting Chicago event at

Check out more special projects, collaborations and partnerships on our RECENT PROJECTS page.

parent workshop

A HUGE thank you to Waters School students, staff and families for your creativity, energy and support!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead

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