“One Million… What?”

Tyler students developing their prints

Fourth grade students at Tyler Elementary (1001 G St. SE) read the book “How Much is a Million” by David M. Schwartz which offers relatable examples of just how much one million really looks like such as “If one million kids climbed onto one another’s shoulders, they would be taller than the tallest buildings, higher than the highest mountains, and farther up than planes can fly.”  After visualizing what a million could look like, students considered what items at Tyler might number in the millions.  With responses like ‘bacteria’, ‘thoughts’, and ‘strands of hair’, their grasp of the concept is clearly spot-on.

Their art teacher, Amanda Swift then turned to the use of repetition in art, sharing works such as Rene Magritte’s “Golconda” – also known as “Raining Men” – which includes images of nearly identical men in bowler hats streaming from the sky – and Andy Warhol’s prints of Marilyn Monroe. Print-making is a particularly effective way of creating multiple repetitions of an image. The plate or stamp can be used to make individual copies of the same image.  Or the technique can be used within a single image to create a repeating pattern. Students pursued the latter, creating stamps to be inked and pressed onto colored construction paper.

Referring back to which items at Tyler were at least a million in number, they each drew their ideas on sticker foam, cut out the shapes, and stuck them onto cardstock to make their personal stamps.  The results are both witty and beautiful. And the project was clearly meaningful to the students.

Demi, who appreciates her classmates’ many talents, “liked to think about what there is a million of at Tyler” and decided on “stars.” Liam, whose work is a subtle presentation of green on green, observed that he particularly enjoyed “using the brayers and painting the colors on the leaves.”  And Royale’s favorite part was “drawing the heartbeats and retracing them on the prints.”

Ms. Swift invites you to “Come out to see what there are a million of at Tyler, according to our fourth grade class. There are a million reasons to see the repetition in art that the students’ created using hand crafted stamps!  You just may be inspired in a million ways! “

“One Million… What?” will be on view in the Young Artists Gallery on the ground floor at Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave, SE) through the end of September. Digital images are also posted in a virtual gallery: hillcenterdc.org/artist/young-artists-gallery-one-million-what/-making it easy to visit this thought-provoking exhibit.