MOW Screen Printing Workshop at Northwest Middle School
Last month, we had a bunch of workshops at partner schools across the city. We packed the Mural On Wheels chock full of screen printing materials. At each school, we demonstrated how to pull a print, before helping students screen print their own t-shirts in the colors of their choice!
Accompanied by Chicago-based printmaker Russell Muits, aka Storm Print City, these workshops are an amazing way to expose kids to screen printing early. Screen printing is an easy process once the screen has been produced, but accessing screens, squeegees, and ink can be expensive for CPS art teachers. Moreover, the process of burning a screen requires even more specialized materials, time and space.
As a result, most art teachers don’t have the time or money to devote to introducing screen printing to their classes. However, at IPMM we believe that screen printing, like other types of printmaking, is a readily accessible art form that breaks down some of the barriers to art making. It allows printers to create more affordable art, and lots of it!
Our Workshop at Northwest Middle School
We have a special relationship with Northwest Middle School, not just because of our awesome board member and NWMS art teacher Roxy Piersanti. It’s a school that cares deeply about art, with an amazing administrative staff supporting the art program with funding and resources.
Usually, students would go on a few art field trips throughout the year, but Covid-19 made some of them impossible. Roxy wanted to make it up to hear eighth graders, so the school hosted a series of 6 workshops with each of the eighth grade classes. We pulled over 150 t-shirts over the course of one school day.
Students had their choice between designs, and could either choose an IPMM favorite which reads “ART IS A HUMAN RIGHT” or a Keith Haring-inspired design created by their fellow classmates to celebrate the NWMS Class of 2022. The students were excited and focused on pulling the very best prints on each of their t-shirts.
Each kid lined up their blank t-shirt within the printing screen so that the design would fall squarely in the middle. They picked their colors and spread the ink across the screen with a squeegee three times. Then, Russell helped them lift the screen and remove their freshly printed shirt!
The gasps of surprise and excitement when the screen is lifted is the best part of the process. Some students could hardly wait for the ink to dry before throwing their new shirts on. Others remarked how easy the process had been, wondering why we all pay so much money for mass-produced t-shirts at the store. All of the students were proud of their classmates for producing such an amazing design and excited to graduate the eighth grade and move onto high school.
We asked students what they had learned about screen printing over the course of the day. Eighth grader Brianna, said, “I learned that it is fun for EVERYONE!! :)” Nancy explains, “I learned that it is a very fun experience and that no one owns the only copy of a screen print.” Valeria adds that she learned how to screen print without making too big of a mess!
We ended the day covered in ink and exhausted, but happy to have executed successful workshops on the largest scale yet in a single day. When we packed up the Mural on Wheels and set off from Northwest Middle School, it was heartwarming to spot a few students in their new shirts heading home from school!
Book Your Very Own Mural On Wheels Screen Printing Workshop
Mural On Wheels workshops are available for screen-printers-to-be at all ages. We think that they’d make a great birthday party activity or a team building exercise for an office or workspace. We can also adapt the activity to any age group of students!
All you have to do is set a date and we’ll pull up curbside in the Mural On Wheels, ready to make some amazing art together with you and your group. Learn more about pricing, what to expect, and how to book your very own workshop!
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