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Mr. Fuller the Art Teacher


Mr. Fuller and art classes..........

Special art teachers were first added to the elementary schools faculties of Livingston County in the 1930's. Previously, the classroom teacher had done the best that she could with the training she received at Normal School. In some schools, such as Pontiac, an art supervisor was employed. Miss Jane Hancock, in her second year of teaching, a graduate of Illinois State Normal University, had nearly 900 pupils in the city's four elementary schools, Central, Lincoln, Washington and Ladd. Miss Hancock put little emphasis on the "how" of drawing technique, more on students' opportunities for expressing themselves. Activities included finger painting and clay modeling for the kindergarten pupils; "free expression drawing" in which students drew whatever a certain subject brought to their minds; three-dimensional work in clay, papier mache, and paper construction; and later, crafts such as weaving, silk screen paint-ing, and linoleum block printing were included. Under the classroom teacher's continued help students did crayon work, murals, painting at easels, paper cutting, clay modeling, etc. The Pontiac High School, at that time, had no art work, except leather craft in Francis Sutton's industrial arts class, and design in Miss Jewel Opperman's pottery class.

In 1954, a radio art course originating at ISNU was used by a number of schools in the county as a stimulus for better art instruction.

With the aid of a $135 donation from the Mother's Club, the Flanagan Schools in 1956 were able to purchase a kiln. Ceramics training, which was introduced that spring on a small scale, made a big hit with the pupils and the subject was taught at all grade levels starting that fall.

One teacher was in charge of the art program in Saunemin in 1961-62, for the first time. Mrs. Dorothy Roche, an experienced teacher who was later to be an assistant in the office of the county superintendent of schools, was in her first-year as a full-time art teacher. She was very pleased with the results, especially with boys who had made seven of the eight paintings on display during "Art Month." The blizzard of that year proved a popular subject. Stories like "Yertle the Turtle" and Civil War history found expression in the first grader's painting. One sixth grade boy cut up newspaper columns to make a collage. Children were encouraged to "explore" with paint until they had put together colors and shapes that pleased them.

One of the outstanding art teachers in Livingston County for many years has been David Fuller of Fairbury-Cropsey. The first exhibit from his classes in 1962 included oil painting and stained glass window paste ups. Altogether there were about 100 drawings and paintings on exhibit. And this after a lapse of about 25 years that art had not been taught in the Fairbury-Cropsey Schools. Mr. Fuller began by teaching children in grades one through seven once a week but taught one class of eighth graders every morning for 12 weeks.

Mr. Fuller also directs plays at Fairbury-Cropsey. One of his early Children's Theatre productions was "Little Women." To promote "Little Women," a poster contest for eighth graders was held at Lincoln School. Eighth graders painted a screen for the entrance hall that was used in the play by Jo of Little Women for a play she presents. The girls in "Little Women" posed on stage in costume for seventh graders to sketch. Fifth graders drew pictures of the props, such as an oil lamp, high top shoes, fancy hats. Mr. Fuller took stage properties to classes, giving back-ground information on each--an oil-burning lamp, Oriental vases, and Seth Thomas clocks used during the Civil War period of the play. Various hall displays, such as one which included a white kid Party shoe, a perching dove, a Godey print, and an opened carved ivory fan, also gave students an appreciation of the background for the play. They learned about Cur-rier and Ives prints as well as George Inness whom Currier and Ives copied. As a result they wanted to learn block printing. Even make-up was an art project.

Mr. Fuller had previously produced "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates."

In March, 1973, Mr. Fuller, who for 10 years had literally taught out of his hat had his own room in both the new additions at Westview and at the high school.

From the Lucille Goodrich scrapbook of Livingston County book.







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