by Claudia Sherman, for Friedel Jewish Academy
Thursdays are art exploration days at Friedel Jewish Academy. All grades, from kindergarten through sixth grade, put down their pencils and pick up their paint brushes — and so much more — on Thursdays.
Friedel’s art program was “lovingly created by Julie Phillips who taught art at the school for many years,” explained Friedel’s Head of School Beth Cohen. “Julie’s innovation and creativity were the cornerstone for the weekly program that is now in place. She charted an amazing path for the school in our fine arts program. Now, with her own kids getting older and spread out around the country, she’s not able to commit to a weekly teaching schedule,” said Beth.
Last spring, Beth asked Kim Noddle if she would be interested in teaching the new Arts and Exploration Program at Friedel. “I thought it would be a great opportunity,” Kim said. Having previously taught fifth grade at Loveland Elementary School, Kim also ran a successful business, The Art Room in Rockbrook Village. She has taught art from her home as well.
“My goal at Friedel,” Kim stated, “is to introduce the students to various artists. We discuss their style and time period, and then we create a project that might be indicative of the artist’s style. The projects and lessons are geared toward each grade level’s art standards and outcomes.”
Kim introduced the students to Chagall, Lichtenstein, Klimt, Monet, and Picasso last semester as the young artists concentrated on color in their compositions. “We painted with watercolors and acrylics, drew architectural designs, worked with paint pens, and explored a bit of printmaking. I believe the students love to hear about each artist and what might have gone on in the artists’ lives in order to appreciate their style,” explained Kim.
This semester Kim is focusing her students’ attention on three-dimensional art.
“So far,” she said, “we have learned how to make trees look more dimensional and made Alexander Calder inspired mobiles.” Calder was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile. Kim, a studio arts major in college who also earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in kindergarten through eighth grade education with an emphasis in art and social science, plans to introduce Dale Chihuly style sculptures to her classes. An American glass sculptor, Chihuly is renowned for his blown glass artwork, some of which is permanently installed at Joslyn Art Museum. Then Kim’s students will learn about Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman, and printmaker, and create some figures based on his artistry. Finally, they’ll work on relief collages after studying about Louise Nevelson, a sculptor known for her monumental, monochromatic wood wall pieces and outdoor sculptors. Nevelson, who spoke Yiddish at home, learned English after she emigrated to the United States with her family from Czarist Russia.
“I love to add any bit of Jewish background to the artists we discuss,” Kim pointed out. “Not all of them are Jewish, but most have a story tied to Jewish history.”
“Kim has been an amazing addition to the staff at Friedel,” noted Beth. “In addition to educating our students about famous artists, Kim draws out the abilities of each student as he or she does a hands-on exploration of the different medium used by the artists.”
Kim loves art. “I’ve always had a passion for creating,” she emphasized. “And I also love working with the students and teachers at Friedel.”