Sunday, May 14, 2017

Summer Art Camp with Katie Podracky 

 Hey Parents! Would you like a morning or two to yourself this summer? Send your kids to art camp with me so they can get messy and have a blast while you relax or get something done. I’m an artist and art teacher with 5 years of experience in the public schools and a mama of two. To see my work visit   To register your child, text me or call at 912-704-3637. You may also email me at Please give your child's name and grade, plus your cell phone number and email address so that I can send reminders. I also need to know about any allergies. Class sizes are limited and first come, first serve. Full payment reserves your child’s spot in art camp. Checks may be made to Katie Podracky and mailed to 3022 Lake Forest Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408. All camps are held at my home and all art supplies are included.

Paint a Vintage Camper Beach Bus 
July 12 &13 (rising 2nd-6th) 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
On day 1, we’ll draw and paint our vintage camper busses, and on day two we’ll add fun details like surfboards, clothes lines, beach umbrellas and even seashells. Let’s go to the beach, shall we? Flip flops required (wink).

Cactus Painting and Watercolor techniques 
July 19 & 20 (rising 2nd-6th) 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Succulents are all the rage these days. They’re even better if you don’t have to water them! We’ll draw and paint cacti and succulents with vivid watercolors and then add zentangle pattern details with sharpie markers. The art will be frame worthy!

All About Ice Cream Art: Paper Mache 
August 2 & 3 (rising 2nd-6th) 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
This project is back by popular demand. We will create paper mache ice cream cones and draw pop-art inspired sweet treats. Last year, we drew and shaded donuts and then gobbled them down for a snack! This camp is messy, so please wear old clothes.

Seascape Collage: Watercolor techniques and torn paper 
August 9 & 10 (rising 2nd-6th) 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
In this camp, we will create a beautiful seascape collage from hand painted paper. Think about sailing the 7 seas with sun, sand, fluffy clouds and sail boats. We will experiment with splatter painting, salt painting, alcohol painting and more fun techniques before we arrange our masterpiece. If you’re looking for something frame-worthy, this camp is for you!

Thursday, August 31: Small group art lessons begin on Thursdays from 2:45-3:45 p.m.
(rising 2nd-5th grades)
$15/ class if paid upfront, or $18/class pay as you go.
Limit of 10 students. Seasonal projects will be tailored to the students who sign up. Snack is provided, so please let me know about allergies.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Art Enrichment Classes for Homeschool Students

Parents, would you like a morning to yourself? Send your students to art enrichment with me! I’m an artist and art teacher with 5 years of experience in elementary and middle grade public schools. To see my work and learn more visit

To register your child or for any questions, text, call or email me at 912-704-3637, or Please give your child's name and grade, plus your phone number and email address so that I can send reminders. Class sizes are limited, so please contact me as soon as possible. Full payment reserves your child’s spot in art enrichment class. Checks may be made to Katie Podracky and mailed to 3022 Lake Forest Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408. All classes are held at my home and include all art supplies unless otherwise noted.

Art Enrichment Sessions for Homeschool Students (Fall 2016)
Wednesdays or Thursdays 
9-10:30 a.m.
$20/session or 10 classes for  $180
Art activities will be geared toward the interests and ability levels of your student. Maximum of 6 students/session. Students may explore painting, drawing, printmaking or clay. 

Possible sessions (pick the times that work for you and schedule with me to secure your spot):
  • ·      Wednesday, August 31/ Thursday, September 1
  • ·      Wednesday, September 7/ Thursday, September 8
  • ·      Wednesday, September 14/ Thursday, September 15
  • ·      Wednesday, September 21/ Thursday, September 22
  • ·      Wednesday, September 28/ Thursday, September 29
  • ·      Wednesday, October 5/ Thursday, October 6
  • ·      Wednesday, October 12/ Thursday, October 13
  • ·      Wednesday, October 19/ Thursday, October 20
  • ·      Wednesday, October 26/ Thursday, October 27
  • ·      Wednesday, November 2/ Thursday, November 3
  • ·      Wednesday, November 9/ Thursday, November 10
  • Wednesday, November 16/ Thursday, November 17

Private art lessons are available upon request. $25/session/any age/ all supplies included.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Summer Art Camp with Katie Podracky

Hey Parents! Would you like a morning or two to yourself this summer? Send your little ones to art camp with me so they can get messy and have a blast while you relax or get something done. I’m an artist and art teacher with 5 years of experience in the public schools. To see my work visit

To register your child or for any questions, text me or call at 912-704-3637. You may also email me at Please give your child's name and grade, plus your cell phone number and email address so that I can send reminders. I also need to know about any allergies. Snack: Please send a snack with your child both days of camp. Class sizes are limited, so please text me as soon as possible to let me know of your intent. Full payment reserves your child’s spot in art camp. Checks may be made to Katie Podracky and mailed to 3022 Lake Forest Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408. All camps are held at my home and all art supplies are included in the price of camp unless otherwise noted.

Clay Days Grades 3-5 (rising 3rd-5th grade)
July 6, 7 and 13(extra day for glazing), 9-11a.m. 75$
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at the pottery wheel, this camp is for you! In addition to throwing pots, students will be introduced to hand building techniques in clay. This camp wouldn’t be finished without a day to glaze your ceramic creations, so it will extend to the following week for a glazing day. If you are unable to make the glazing day, I can work with you to find a different date. 

Candy Land Art Camp Grades 3-5 (rising 3rd-5th grade)
August 3 and 4, 9-11 a.m. $50
Welcome to the sweet life! This week we will sculpt paper-Mache ice cream cones, draw candy still life pictures and paint Thiebaud-inspired cakes.

Chihuly Chandeliers Grades 3-5 (rising 3rd-5th grade)
August 17 and 18, 9-11 a.m. $50
Are you ready to spice up your room? Come make a chandelier inspired by the work of glass artist, Dale Chihuly. We will use recycled water bottles to make your masterpiece! If you want to make it light up too bring a strand of Christmas lights with you when you come to camp!

Color Magic: Batik, Ice-Dyes and Printmaking
 August 10 and 11, 12-2 p.m. $50
Do you love color? Are you up for a challenge? Join me for an advanced art camp for middle school students where we'll use color in unexpected ways. We will use wax and dye to make silk scarf batik art, followed by ice-dying old t-shirts to bring them new life. Have you ever wanted to make art with jello? This is your chance! We'll be using jello and paint to print fabulous designs on paper. We'll also explore the Japanese art of Suminigashi, or spilled ink printing.  Bring a bagged lunch and an old t-shirt that you'd like to ice-dye with crazy bright colors.

 * Private art lessons available upon request. $25/session/any age

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The importance of art education (part 3)

This post originally appeared on Keep Forever Box on  September 22, 2014.

There are many fun ways to help support art education and develop creativity in children. To help your local art teacher, introduce yourself and offer to volunteer. You could help arrange a bulletin board for her, or provide supplies. Personally, I’m always in need of copy paper, baby wipes, and toilet paper tubes. I’ll also gladly accept any unwanted old art supplies you have at home. I use old markers to make my own liquid watercolors. Google it if you’re interested—it’s awesome fun and inexpensive. Ask what the teacher needs. Sometimes it’s really simple to help. You could also offer to come in and help on messy days. Clay day is a blast. You’ll see the joy and the thrill of the art room first hand.

Art books
Read these fun, creative books with children to help get their creative juices flowing
For the little ones, read them one of these excellent art books. Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg is a pop-up book about how to turn mistakes into opportunities. My toddler nieces and nephew love it, as well as my younger elementary students. It turns drips of paint into little pigs riding cars and crumpled paper into fun surprises. After we read the book, I often give the children a paper with a mistake on it. Then it’s their job to figure out how to make great art with it anyway. It’s easy and good fun. Students get to practice recovering from their mistakes, and you get to put scrap paper to good use. It also teaches not to waste! Yay!

Another book along the same lines that helps develop creativity is The Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Again, it teaches resilience, creativity and alternate points of view. It’s about an optimistic little square that gets torn up, shredded, and crumpled. That poor little square goes through the wringer and turns it around to create beautiful experiences out of hardship. What a metaphor for life huh? For the activity, all you need is a construction paper square, scissors and a glue stick—let the kids tear apart poor little square and then practice re-creating beauty out of a mess.

My last favorite children’s art book is an oldie but a goody. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson teaches students that they have the power to change their environments and to solve their own problems with imagination. All they need is a silly little crayon. It doesn’t even have to be purple. For an art project, I often give students a purple crayon as well as different purple shapes. It’s their job to take it from there and create whatever masterpiece their heart tells them to make.
Art at home
Here are some ideas to get creative juices flowing at home. Stop motion image from Organized Chaos, fort building ideas from All for the Boys, and Invention box ideas from Pink and Green Mama.

Other art activities to develop creativity at home can include:

Sidewalk Chalk Paints: Mix water, food coloring and cornstarch in a muffin tin. Hand over a brush and let the little ones go to town outside. They can learn color mixing, develop fine motor skills, and build observational skills critical for science class later on. When you’re done, hose everyone off, especially the toddlers. It might be the best part.

Homemade play dough: With simple ingredients and 30 minutes, you can create a huge amount of play dough. For tons of recipes, just Google homemade play dough or homemade salt dough. Children develop fine motor skills while they practice making tracks, rolling logs, building houses or even cooking. It’s great, cheap fun and puts your child in control for a bit. See a tutorial here. 

Cardboard Fort: It’s every kid’s favorite. So what if an expensive toy came in the box. Sometimes the box is still the best part. Offer crayons, construction paper or paint, depending on how messy you’re willing to let it get. See where the box can take your child. It could be a spaceship, a battleground for superheroes, a veterinary office for stuffed animals, or a doll’s dream house. Fun!

Build it Box: Put clean recyclables and random doo-dads in a box. When your kids are bored, get out the “build it box” and have them create an invention. Brainstorm about what kind of robot they could make and inspire them with some online research.

Stop Animation: If your child is a little bit older and technologically savvy, get him away from the video games by making him a movie producer. There are lots of stop-motion animation apps that are fun to play with and fairly easy to figure out… especially if you’re 8. A few of my favorites are: iMotion, StopAnimator and OSnap! Lite. Most of these are free downloads in the app store. Kids can take multiple pictures of their toys in different positions and really make some awesome and hilarious video shorts.

Remember when you’re arranging group activities with siblings or neighbors, allow kids to set roles for themselves. I do an amusement park engineering lesson with students where they create a ride from simple machines and recycled materials. There are always roles like safety engineer, lead designer, lead engineer—make it sound fun and give everybody ownership and specific roles for a more successful collaboration.

I sure hope these ideas help get you started to develop creativity with your children!   If you try some of these, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The importance of art education (part 2)

This post originally appeared on Keep Forever Box.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.   Last year at the middle school where I worked, we raised lots of money and wrote a grant for a sculpture project called “Recreating the Dream: The March on Washington.”
We secured hundreds of rolls of packing tape for our students and for students around the county. A total of 10 art teachers from 7 different schools worked together to have students re-create the March on Washington of 1963 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. Students made life size sculptures out of clear packing tape.
"Recreating the Dream: The March on Washington" sculpture project created by middle schoolers.
Artist and educator Katie Wall Podracky led middle school students with other art teachers in creating this sculpture project “Recreating the Dream: The March on Washington.”
Student groups of three or four were given the problem of creating one protestor for the march. They had to self-assign roles for each other, which often included a model, a safety engineer, a taper, and a structural engineer. Students researched the history in the computer lab to learn about who these people were and why they were protesting. They also watched the entirety of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech for perspective and inspiration. Students also spoke with a local commemorative sculptor about his process, and learned about George Segal’s work on the great depression and the holocaust. This project is a great example of how students practice problem solving, creativity, collaboration and communication in art class. Working together, they had to create a sculpture that would stand, communicate an idea, and fascinate their audience. It was a huge success! I believe it taught them so much more about themselves as individuals. They learned that students, especially student artists could be powerful agents of change in this world. This project involved learning way beyond reading passages in a book and taking a test about history.   Instead, students put themselves in the shoes of the person they were creating. They got caught up in the emotion of the event, and they were intrinsically motivated to do a great job. I am so proud of them!
"Recreating the Dream: The March on Washington" sculpture project created by middle schoolers.
Last year at the middle school where I worked, we raised lots of money and wrote a grant for a sculpture project called “Recreating the Dream: The March on Washington.”
Art class often includes the best practices in education. It’s basically how we all want to be treated in a classroom. We want to be engaged, entertained and experiencing hands-on learning instead of sitting back and receiving a lecture. We also want to have a little control over our own destiny. We want the freedom to put our own stamp of creativity and personality on our projects and we want to steer their direction to an extent. We also learn a lot from our peers when we’re allowed to interact with them. Art class is essential.
Students build civil right sculptures
In all, we had right at 125 sculptures of protestors at the march, and roughly 700 students participated in creating them. Some students were interviewed by the newspaper or television. One student group created a mini-documentary about the project on their own time. Many students said it was their favorite project all year. Art class is not only awesome, it’s lots of fun and it keeps students excited about coming to school.

To learn more about this art project and to see additional pictures and video documentaries, visit

So you’re probably wondering how you can help ensure that your children receive this kind of education. There are many ways to do this! You can help your local art teacher, or you can tackle some artistic learning at home on your own. For some inspiration, check back here later next week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The importance of art education (part 1)

I was recently asked to write about why art education. This post originally appeared on the blog called "Keep Forever Box."  Here's what I came up with: 

“Well with all the cuts in education, you must understand why the art teacher has to give up her room for a regular classroom teacher. It’s just common sense, right? Some things are more important than others”

A family member spoke these words to me years ago. He meant well, but it shocked me. You see, I am an artist, a perpetual art student and an art teacher in the public schools of North Carolina. In the few years that I’ve been teaching, my position has been cut or threatened many times, regardless of how great I am at my job. I have worked in a trailer with no sink where I carried in my own water for students to wash their hands. That’s hard when you have hundreds of students a week. I have pulled together amazing projects with a budget of less than 15 cents per student. I fundraise on nights and weekends so I can purchase good supplies for my students. I have also been repeatedly belittled through administrators' decisions about the value of my subject and I have lost weeks of precious planning time so that I could administer reading fluency tests that provided little to no meaningful data, even to the reading teachers. Appreciation is not a major part of this job. Sometimes my own family fails to understand the value of the services I provide.

Here’s why I still do it.
Art is not a sideline subject. Every single day, I hear parents, teachers, and administrators talk about the 21stcentury skills that they want our children to have. We want a workforce full of people who can think for themselves, troubleshoot, collaborate, problem solve, and clearly communicate their ideas. We want them to be persistent and overcome mistakes. We want them to be flexible and successful members of our society within an ever-changing working environment. We also want them to be tolerant of others beliefs and values, especially when they differ from our own. We want Steve Jobs reincarnate, only better, kinder and more socially adjusted. With today’s strict assessment techniques and test-taking government mandates, I firmly believe art class is perhaps the only subject that can still get us there. Here’s why.

A Day in Art Class
Every day in art class, I give my students a problem to solve. I propose an idea, or a challenge, and students typically work together in small groups to create a solution. Their process involves critical thinking (how do we do this?), collaboration (working with a group at their table), creativity (non-linear and often clever thought processes to come up with a solution with limited supplies) and communication (both while working in their team and to present results or communicate an idea to others through an end product).

In terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a common educational reference about higher order thinking, creating is right there at the top of cognitive ability. Memorizing facts for multiple choice tests… well, that’s the lowest level of learning and typically is meaningless in the long run. In terms of real life, art class teaches skills that apply directly to success in any job.

There’s a quote from Pinterest I love that says, “Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else. ” I don’t know who said it, but it rings true every time. There are many different kinds of learning abilities and different styles of leadership, but in art class, each and every student can find an opportunity to shine… to build self-esteem, confidence and to be proud of their accomplishments. Art class isn’t just about allowing students to express themselvesArt class is about modeling and practicing skills that will help children throughout their lives. These skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity will help them build stronger marriages and raise happier children. It will help them secure their dreams in the work force and it will help them survive, overcome and thrive as they face difficult times or decisions.

We didn’t get to the moon with reading, writing, arithmetic, and multiple-choice tests alone. American ingenuity, creativity, persistence, and problem solving got us there. These are the exact skills that children practice in my art class every day.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Summer hike in Yosemite

Summer Hike, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

This one was inspired by a photo I took this summer while Dave and I were hiking in Yosemite. We were on the way to see the most magnificent waterfalls I've ever seen before.  Thanks to a few snow days last week, I was able to finish it up.