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Achieve Students Get Creative For 2020 Virtual Art Show

While students and staff at Achieve Charter Academy weren’t able to be together in school to celebrate students’ artwork this spring, they could still admire it online during their 2020 Virtual Art Show!

Students from all grade levels were invited to submit a piece of art and artist statement for display. An artist statement is an artist’s written description of their work. The brief verbal representation is for, and in support of, their own work to give the viewer understanding.

“It has been wonderful to see not only the technique and effort, but also the personal interests, observations, and concerns expressed in the artwork of children,” shared Sarah MacKinnon, art teacher at Achieve. “This year, more than ever, art has served its human purpose to express or escape from current life.”

Below are a few examples of piece artists statements made by Achieve scholars:

student artwork

“Life during Covid19” by Antoine, seventh grade.

“In this artwork I drew a tree by itself. This shows isolation. Just like what we got to do at this time. I created by blending colors on the top to make a sunset. I used markers and oil pastel. I was inspired by my little sister who painted a wonderful sunset in her art club.”

“Flowers” by Annika, first grade.

“I made the flower vase in the picture with markers and the background with markers and water. I made flowers in the borders with tissue paper and markers and water.”

student artwork

“Spring Time during Covid19” by Anna, second grade.

“My artwork during the stay-at-home order. This drawing reflects the happenings in the world during the covid19 pandemic.”

student artwork

“Moral Focus” by Yonna, fifth grade.

“During this time, many things are going on. During this time, one of the most important things is showing and having Moral Focus. The happy face means that if you know Moral Focus, you and your surrounding people will be happy. The different fonts and colors mean that anyone can, and should, show Moral Focus. Moral Focus is one of the best things a person can have!”

The projects aligns with National Art Standards, including VA:Pr4.1.Ka - Select art objects for personal portfolio and display, explaining why they were chosen, VA:Pr4.1.1a - Explain why some objects, artifacts, and artwork are valued over others, VA:Pr4.1.2a - Categorize artwork based on a theme or concept for an exhibit, VA:Cr3.1.5a - Create artist statements using art vocabulary to describe personal choices in art-making, and more.

“Art is a shared experience,” shared MacKinnon. “It gives our students a medium in which to express themselves and know that they are seen and heard. It inspires them to do their best, and transcends oral language and brings culture, richness, beauty, and joy to the community.”​​​​​​​

In total, 104 pieces of artwork were submitted online, 45 of which include artist statements. Staff, parents, and students were able to enjoy the art show at their own pace via an Artsonia gallery. Artsonia is the world's largest collection of student art, published by teachers and students from around the world. Parents and family can view the art online, leave comments and order keepsakes featuring the artwork.

This is MacKinnon’s 13th year teaching art at NHA, and has been hosting the spring art show at Achieve since the 2009-10 school year.

For this year’s show, she was most excited about the range of media; drawing and painting, but also digital and video art. One student even made an actual chair. In addition to her love for seeing the artwork, she also enjoys reading the artist statements. “They reveal the thought behind the artwork that might otherwise be missed,” MacKinnon shared. “Many students depicted their feelings about Covid-19 and being out of school in very symbolic ways like an island, or in terms of Moral Focus.”

MacKinnon has never lost her passion for teaching art because it teaches more than how to draw and paint. “Students learn to observe the world around them, reflect, develop persistence, express their thoughts, learn from peers and other artists, envision next steps, stretch out of their comfort zone, and develop technique and responsibility with art supplies,” she said. “It's fun, messy, beautiful, and so human!”

About Achieve Charter Academy
Achieve Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Canton, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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