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Art with Poetry in the schools is a month-long residency. The program kicks off with an exhibit of Denise’s 'Haiku Thank You' visual poetry which provides students a sneak preview of the workshop curriculum.
At the high school level, classes include an introduction to the history and modern day applications of 'word and image,' leading to examples of ‘Visual Poetry’ (aka Art with Poetry), followed by a poetry assignment. (Model poems are provided.) This power point introduction can be held in the auditorium for all participating students, or in the individual classrooms.
The next step addresses the poetry piece where Denise meets in each classroom to hear students read their poems aloud. Participants are asked to choose the line from their poem they wish to honor in creating a piece of assemblage art.
Step three is one or two art classes of 80 – 90 minute blocks. Denise provides all materials: a piece of wood for each student, a truck-load of collage-making items, a carpentry station, a spray-painting area, wood-burning tools, and text-making materials. Students are asked to apply a word, phrase, or line from their poem on their art work.
The final step is an exhibit of the student work at the school, local library or a gallery. At the elementary school level the program is modified: the power point intro is replaced with a ‘show & tell’ talk, and the wood-burning station is eliminated. Volunteer parents are asked to assist with the glue gun, carpentry, and spray paint areas.
This program is available as an all-day corporate team-building event, or as a community outreach series offered over four evenings.

Fourth grade student work


Elementary school students picking out their wood backing

Elementary school students picking out their wood backing

   "When students shared their poems, it was an experience I won't forget. Denise was able to intrinsically motivate my students to write about themselves with depth, clarity, and emotion. Her feedback and critiques invigorated my freshmen to revise and rework their poems until they were ready for publication. I couldn't have been more pleased.
     The actual artwork was by far the best part of this project. To see this group of 14-and 15-year-olds' creativity come to life with determination and vigor was truly an opportunity. Denise worked one-on-one, in small groups, and, whole class during instruction and application of skills. The kids were receptive and respectful because Denise made this learning task rigorous but reachable.
     I strongly encourage anyone given this chance to take it without reservation. It is such a treat, and a great culmination to a poetry or art unit. We always say learning needs to be important to the children, and this project is just that! I fully support Denise in her project, and hope that other districts will be able to take advantage of this venture."

Paula Chapin
English Department
Palmer High School
     "The primary quality that Denise radiated was her incredible enthusiasm - for the project, for our school, and for each individual student who immersed themselves in this unique experience. The results were fantastic. We filled our library and Tea Room with student-made art; we later installed the artwork in the Palmer Library for an even greater audience. Denise provided the inexhaustible energy that pushed this engine down the track; she is an incredible individual."

Catherine D. Yurkunas
English Department
Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School
High School students observing a selection of materials (Photo: Douglas Farmer/Turley Publications)

High School students observing a selection of materials
(Photo: Douglas Farmer/Turley Publications)

     "It was my privelage to work with Denise as she inspired the students to reflect on and write about personal memories and events, and then to create an assemblage sculpture based on a line from their poem. Denise proved to be a professional, enthusiastic and insightful instructor. Denise's ability to really see each and every student and to hear their personal stories really touched all of us at Holyoke Catholic High School. I highly recommend Denise Fontaine-Pincince to work in any school setting and with students of all ages. Her passion and skill for the creative process will be a positive addition to any curriculum." 

Jackie Boudreau Kinsey
Fine Arts Director
Holyoke Catholic High School
Palmer High School students working with Denise (Photo: Douglas Farmer/Turley Publications)

Palmer High School students working with Denise
(Photo: Douglas Farmer/Turley Publications)

     "The students were excited and highly engaged throughout the entire creating process. Denise was accessible and available to all of the students for whatever level of help, assistance, encouragement, and acknowledgement that was required. She was an upbeat and dynamic catalyst for creativity during the short time we had her and as a result each student was able to submit for display a finished poem and accompanying visual construction for display. The residency was a success -- one I would not hesitate to repeat in the future!" 

Leslie diCurcio
Art Department
William E. Norris School
High School student work

High School student work

     "All aspects of Denise's program from the original meeting with the teachers where she explained the program to the final project were very well-organized. She handled the presentation to the PTO, designed the classroom lessons, and oversaw the homework project making it effortless for the teachers. We were simply able to enjoy this incredible project. My staff and I wholeheartedly recommend her program to any level of students. Denise is very easy to work with. Her compassion for art, poetry and teaching inspired us all and left us with fond memories." 

Paula S. Fitzgerald
Chestnut Hill Community School
     "Denise was professional, knowledgeable and helpful. If you are looking for someone who will provide a wonderful experience to your students, the 'Art with Poetry' program run by Denise Fontaine-Pincince is the perfect candidate."
Elizabeth Teixeira
Department of Fine and Applied Arts Chair
Belchertown High School


Press excerpts:

Chestnut Hill Community School art teacher Matt Gaspar said he loves the idea of crossing the art and English curriculum, saying it's "awesome." He said students have connected to their artwork more than ever during this project, likely because it means something personal to them "The art means that much more," said Gaspar. 
-from the Belchertown Sentinel, Aimee M. Henderson (read the full news article here)
Holyoke Catholic High School Academic Dean Cindy Geiger said, "Having a visiting artist in residence like Ms. Fontaine-Pincince is an amazing opportunity for our students to explore other ways to express their creativity. Art with Poetry allows students to take recycled objects and turn them into pieces of meaningful and beautiful art. This adds another valuable dimension to our students’ art education." 
-from the Chicopee Register (read the full news article here)
Nick Bertsch, a senior honor studio art student at Belchertown High School, said experimenting with the visual concept was new to him, but very interesting. "This is a great opportunity to work with mixed media in art," he said. "This is really new to us, especially with all the material we can use. It's a good opportunity to express ourselves."
- from the Belchertown Sentinel, Aimee M. Henderson (read the full news article here).

(Full press coverage list here)


More student work:


High Schools

Elementary Schools