Happy September!

“Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?” 

― Pablo Picasso

Happy September!

Art and Omanut classes have begun! We started with exploring and creating our self-portraits in all art classes so we can put them all together as a school self-portrait. Results will be posted as they are completed in the Innovation Wing hallway. Stop by and watch it grow!

The musical “Seussical, Jr” has started rehearsing during Omanut with the 5-8 graders who signed up. We have 20 willing and able actors to create this clever and entertaining production. In addition to the musical in our Omanut program, we also have beginning wind students eager to learn flute and saxophone, many interested guitar players plus our first quarter arts classes- drawing, calligraphy, and quilting- have begun. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 are very creative hours during the upper school week!

Check back here for photos and updates of what is happening in the lower school art and upper school Omanut classes this fall. I look forward to keeping you “in the loop”!

Gev. Porat

Creative Culmination

Teaching art is what I love to do. I also really enjoy directing the Omanut (“arts”) program for our Upper School.  We have so many wonderful artists and musicians who come in to teach in our program.

Our first semester of classes is coming to a close this month. Students have learned to play instruments, create colorful quilts, develop beautiful calligraphy lettering, craft wonderful wooden boxes, and make delicious food. Here are some pictures of those classes this semester:


The musical, “High School Musical, Jr.” drew most of the upper school students to learn lines, songs and dance steps all semester. Along with the cast, other students in the Theater Set class (with some help from the woodworking class) have been involved in creating the sets.


After the upcoming next days of long tech rehearsals, the students will finally step onto the Ritz Theater stage at the JCC this week to perform for the public.  Be sure and come and see what our talented students have worked so hard to create! You will be so amazed. Here are the public performance dates:

Thursday, Jan 18 at 7 pm……Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. …..and Sunday at 2 p.m.

If you have any interest in volunteering your time to help with the rehearsals or performances or sell tickets this week, let me know!  We can always use an extra hand…

Gev. Porat


The art of memory

Do you remember going to Klode Park for Tashlich back in September? What did you see? What did you hear? What did it feel like? How do we capture that with the strokes of our paintbrushes?



A few weeks after that wonderful trip to Klode Park, our second grade artists used tempera paint to remember that day: the looming clouds and crashing waves, children leaping as they threw their pieces of bread and seagulls “cawing” as they swooped in to grab it before it hit the water. There were so many beautiful images of that ceremony to recall.  Here are a few of the paintings that are going on display this week.











Gev. Porat





What should I draw?

In art classes, we have been drawing. How do you choose a subject for your art? Does it have to be something extraordinary? Or can it be ordinary? As we know, Cezanne brought our attention to apples. His beautiful paintings made the viewer sit up and take notice.

To celebrate making and to practice our drawing skills, 3rd and 4th graders chose a tool to draw from the art room woodworking table or the Maker Space. Tools have interesting shapes. Every tool has a specific job: one to cut, another to grab, another to twist….  We rely on our tools to carry out all of our creative ideas! Here are some of their many wonderful drawings done in white craypa and finished in watercolor:

The next week, they chose a cooking tool to draw with colored chalks:


We also looked at the work of one well known artist, Jim Dine, who chose to draw tools.

Why tools? Well, they do have interesting shapes. However, if you read more about this artist, you see that he had a special connection with tools. His grandfather, Morris Cohen, ran a hardware store, The Save Supply Company, in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he was growing up, Jim spent a lot of time with his grandfather at the family store surrounded by tools. These objects were important characters in his childhood story. Here are some of his drawings, which suggest he saw a real power in these ordinary objects:


Look around. What objects do you find interesting? What shapes would make them fun to draw? Does it have any special meaning to you?

Gev. Porat



“With an apple I will astonish Paris.” – Paul Cezanne

The French artist, Paul Cezanne, thought his painting of an ordinary apple would make art history. He was right, it did! His paintings of what was considered ordinary subject matter made people take a second look. Here’s a look at one:

still-life-with-seven-apples.jpg (750×344) www.paulcezanne.org

Inspired by apples, Cezanne, Rosh HaShanah and the pleasures of liquid tempera paint, our younger students painted apples last week in art class. First, we observed with our eyes, our hands and even our noses. What colors do we see? Is it round….or? What makes this look like an apple? How do we show that with paint?

As we enter this new Jewish year and beginning of the school year, I hope we can think like artists: Look at what is around you. What do you see? What do you find beautiful? What do you find interesting? How do we express that? How do we celebrate the “ordinary”?

Here are some of the many beautiful paintings completed by our first and second graders:


Shanah Tovah!

Gev. Porat




A blank canvas

Welcome to my blog page! Like a blank canvas, who knows what we will see here this year?

There is a lot going on in the arts at MJDS. Lower school art classes from JK-4th grade have begun…The Upper School has begun their Omanut classes… A mosaic that was made with last spring’s 7th graders has been hung on the wall of the Innovation Hub…Artwork is being completed and displayed.

There are many things to report and there are also things we can explore here- ideas, images, thoughts and feelings. So stay tuned, think like an artist and see where it takes us!

Geveret Porat