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We are winding down the 2010-2011 year with our personal meaning mask art. Students viewed many different types of masks and learned the history of many cultures that use masks and for what purposes masks have been used. After researching the history of masks students were asked to create a mask that would best represent them in some way. They were asked to thinks about things that they enjoying doing or personal traits that they are proud of. Some students have chosen to make masks about their heritage. They have used colors, textures, symbols, and many other forms of artistic expression to create their masks.

Clay is an excellent way for kids to be able to express themselves and learn to have better control over their motor skills. Using clay is also an excellent way for students to learn about three dimensional forms and experiment with creating sculpture. In 5th grade we worked with clay to create slab boxes complete with lids. On the lids we added invertebrate. In 5th grade science students learn about bugs, butterflies, and other creatures without a backbone. This was an excellent way to incorporate science into art. It was also important for students to see that science and art go hand in hand. Working with glazes and learning about the kiln was another way for kids to explore the fusion of science and art.

5th Graders are currently finishing up their watercolor fish paintings. These paintings helped students to learn many new painting techniques and about how color can show emotion. Students also had the opportunity to learn several parts of the fish. Here are a few examples of their work. To see them all visit our other site, in the next few days they should all be posted.
5th grade students are working on a self portrait project. We are using a photo editing program called to adjust our photos. After they are altered students will use the photo to create a enlarged drawing using a grid system.  Sumopaint is free, try it at home! Look below for the PDF tutorial students used to alter their photos. All self portraits were due this Friday. Here are a couple of examples of student work that are complete.

Students have created their sketchbook covers. In their books they will be drawing, writing, and taking notes throughout the semester. Here is an example of one that is almost complete. 
Canadian totems are being created by 6th graders at NIS. In Social Studies students are learning about our neighbors to the North, this was the perfect opportunity to integrate information learned in other classes into the art room. In art we are learning about the history of the totem pole and the many uses for totems. Students have researched different animals and their character traits. Students worked on self reflection skills to determined which animal they are most similar to. Because of their detailed planning and sketching I am expecting to see many beautiful masterpieces soon!  Here are a couple of photos of the clay totems waiting to be fired in the kiln. It will be exciting to see what they look like once students add color to their sculptures.

To see more visit our other website at:

Here are a few of the final clay totem poles!
To see more visit our other website at:
Mrs.Feenstra's class is creating slab fish and coil pots. They have been working on their fine motor skills and craftsmanship. Photos to come soon! Students have also been working on painting these beautiful Folk Art Birds made from wood.


I am pleased to announce that NIS students will have their artwork on display at the Byron Township Branch of the Kent District Library! The exhibit will begin on December 8th and be on display until January 7th.

8191 Byron Center Ave. SW, Byron Center, MI 49315

Open Hours
Monday: 12:00-8:00
Tuesday: 9:30 - 8:00
Wednesday: 9:30 - 5:00
Thursday: 12:00 - 8:00
Friday: 9:30 - 5:00
Saturday: 9:30 - 5:00

For additional inquiries on hours please visit:

Students who have art that is selected to be hung will get a card congratulating them on their achievement in the visual arts, this helps to notify parents of the event as well. Many thanks to the library staff for welcoming this opportunity to celebrate our students success in the visual arts!


Many parents, grand parents, and other people who care for our students filled the halls of NIS on Friday. This was my first year experiencing such a fun event, it was very exciting to meet so many new people. In art I encouraged the special visitors to follow along and they created their own shoe drawing masterpieces. It was fun for the kids to see how well their visitor could do!

Congratulations to Andrew, a 6th grade student at NIS! He entered his work into the Sooper Yooper competition and placed in the top of his age category. On Saturday there was a special ceremony at the Grand Rapids Art Museum to celebrate! In addition to the ceremony he also won $100 U.S. Savings Bond. There were several students from the middle school and high school who also placed in the competition. Visit, for more details.


Have you visited the Frederick Meijer Gardens lately? If not this is an excellent time to go! Check out these photos I took this summer and fall while visiting and looking at the ArtPrize entries, art of Dale Chihuly, and the huge pumpkins.

6th graders were able to attend a full day of viewing and interacting with art in downtown Grand Rapids. Because of funding from the Byron Center Fine Arts Boosters, forty students were able to attend! All sixth grade students who were interested in going put their names in a lottery and names were drawn.

Our adventure began with a guided tour of Kendall College of Art and Design. We then walked to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, looked at the art inside and had lunch on the terrace. After lunch we went on a whirl wind tour of many of the hot spots. We visited Rosa Parks Circle, the Amway Grand Hotel, The Gerarld R. Ford Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum, two passenger bridges, and the outside of the B.O.B.. We ended our excursion by walking with the elephants at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum and flying with the pigs at the Grand Rapids Library.

It was a memorable day and our students represented Nickels Intermediate with Bull Dog Pride! 

Summer is just around the corner. Check out
 these fun art activities to participate in!
Kendall College of Art and Design Summer Classes:

Several students have had their artwork selected to be on display at the Festival Youth Art Exhibit. The Exhibit will be located in the Kent County Courthouse on the corner of Ottawa and Lyon during the three-day Festival weekend, June 3, 4 and 5. The Show traditionally features the works of more than 400 students in grades K-12 representing schools from throughout West Michigan. For more information please visit:

Photo above from:

On May 17 please join us for a celebration of the arts for all Nickels Intermediate 6th grade students. Click on the image below for details.

NIS was awarded a grant for transportation from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Because of this about 30 5th grade students will be able to participate in a field trip to the Frederick Meijer Gardens! Students were taken on a tour of the sculptures created by artist Jim Dine. The tropical conservatory and butterflies were a big hit! In the afternoon were were able to explore the outdoor gardens and sculptures.

Come and check out the wonderful art made by BCPS student 1-12. The show is at the Chemical Bank/Gainey Gallery in the Van Singel Fine Arts Center during the entire month of May. Details to follow on a possible artist reception.


Four sixth grade students had their art chosen to be entered into an art competition. McLainn D, Skyler W, Lily P, and Heather S. They were competing against hundreds of other students from West Michigan. One student had her artwork selected by a panel of judges to be a part of the Region 9 Michigan Art Education Association show!

Nickels Intermediate School student, Heather Scott, had her Cave Pictograph on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from the middle of February until the middle of March.  Her piece was selected by a panel of judges to be on display for the Region 9 Michigan Art Education Association Show.  Heather's Cave Pictograph was also selected from hundreds of pieces to go on to the state wide competition in Lansing.  Congratulations Heather, on your accomplishment in the Visual Arts.

For more information on the GRAM event visit:

Cave Pictograph by Heather S

5th graders will have some time in class to work on these. 6th graders if you would like to participate see Mrs.Marshall and visit these websites for details.

As a Visual Arts team we are displaying our students work at the Administration Building. It is wonderful to be able to display student work in this way. Many people will see the talent our students have. The students who will have their work on display from NIS are Kennedy V and Moriah R. Congratulations girls on your achievement in the visual arts! The art will be hung in the next couple of weeks.


Observational Shoe Drawing by Kennedy 6th Grade
Math and art combine to create masterpieces! Some students were not able to finish their designs in time for me to photograph them for If you finish yours at home please bring it into me so I can post a photo of it online, or email me a photo. I am very excited to see your final results!
First semester is coming to an end, 6th grade students will no longer have art this year. They will be going to Computers and Technology with Mrs.Braaksma. One of the last days of art students get to put all of their work into a portfolio to take home, it was very exciting to see all of the work they have done this semester. Parents watch for work to come home this week! Students left their best piece behind for the Spring show, they will get it back at the end of the year.
Come and check out the wonderful art made by BCPS student 1-12
. The show is at the Chemical Bank/Gainey Gallery in the Van Singel Fine Arts Center. An Artist reception for family and friends will take place on December 13th and 14th from 6-7 p.m. Ornaments will be on sale again during Artastic.


GRAND RAPIDS – Traditional art from Byron Center Public Schools artists is now on view at Kent ISD.   Drawings, collages, digital art and more can be viewed in the lobby at 2930 Knapp NE during business hours now through December 17.

The artwork comes from students in grades 1-12 from Byron Center High School, West Middle School, Nickels Intermediate, Countryside Elementary and Brown Elementary and gives a comprehensive view of the district’s art program. Instructors Greg Reinstein, Janine Campbell, Molly Marshall, Jamie Kosmicki and Jon LaBeau give students a solid foundation in art. They help students explore traditional principles of design, a variety of materials and art’s connection to everyday life.

The Byron Center Public Schools art display is one of a series during the year from schools within Kent ISD.  Other schools with displays this year include East Grand Rapids High School, Caledonia High School and Plymouth Christian High School.

Kent ISD also participates in annual Congressional Arts Competition, serving as local judges and occasionally offering purchase awards to student winners.   

Contact - 616.365.2399

BCPS CRAFT SALE Was a success!

Proceeds benefit the Byron Center Fine Arts Boosters who
support K-12 Byron Center Public School students in the performing, visual, and technical arts. On the left is a photo of part of our visual arts teaching staff at BCPS. Mrs.Campbell (middle school), Mrs.Marshall (NIS), and Mr.Reinstein (high school). The ornaments sold well but we still have a bunch left. They will be on sale again at Artistic.

Handmade ornaments created by the 6th graders.


Students have been working on 2.5" x 3.5" Artist Trading Cards. These unique and original cards are made using various mediums; watercolor paint, tempera paint, oil pastels, magazines, and much more! We are going to do a card swap with a group of 6th graders in Virginia. There is also an opportunity to enter the cards into a competition! Here are a few samples...


Using mixed media 6th grade students created art with a meaning. Each student created their own symbols which tell a story. Many of the pieces are very textural and have three-dimensional elements. Students learned new ways to create different effects and experimented with many different art materials. Here are a few examples, visit our Artsonia site to see them all!

Molly Marshall,
Oct 20, 2010, 5:26 PM
Molly Marshall,
Feb 11, 2011, 10:14 AM
Molly Marshall,
Jan 6, 2011, 12:46 PM
Molly Marshall,
Apr 19, 2011, 11:41 AM