Bethel Park elementary students learn animation from artist in residence

Published Feb 5, 2013 at 12:01 am (Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm)

Paul Kruse’s excitement is contagious.

Artist Kruse is spending five weeks working with the fourth-graders in Amy Luzader’s class at Franklin Elementary School in the Bethel Park School District teaching the youngsters how to make a short animation film using a “mini-me,” floating wooden stick figures fashioned in art teacher Kristen Ritchie’s class.

There’s more to film making than meets the eye, Kruse told a classroom of excited students Jan. 24.

Editing is not only a part of writing, but also of making film, and Kruse demonstrated by having the students tell a story to one of their classmates, then editing the story down to just three words. It’s the same technique the students will use in making the animated short story on film.

Some fourth-graders used blank white pages as background while others drew primitive backgrounds.

Then, using a special camera mounted on pieces of PVC pipe, the students were able to slightly move the “mini-mes,” snapping a picture with each new placement.

When placed together, the film resembles animation.

Kruse came to Franklin at the request of Ritchie as part of Gateway to the Arts’ community program called Arts to the Core. It is a new artist in residency program.

Last semester, a group of different fourth-graders worked with artist Alicia Womsley to study Andy Warhol’s influence on pop culture. Womsley helped the students script, film and perform in a video commercial for products they created using Warhol’s influence.

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