The Mid Valley Secondary Center launched a Google Slides Virtual Art Show on the school’s web page to show all the artistic endeavors the students have worked on all year long.

The presentation is set up like a virtual art museum with links to “art gallery” rooms for each grade or elective course. There are more than 700 slides displaying drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, graphic design, TV broadcasting videos and more.

“Due to the pandemic, museums around the world have begun to offer virtual tours of their galleries with the intention of offering educational opportunities as well as keeping their doors open in a new and different way,” said Rebecca Rabel, art teacher at Mid Valley Secondary Center. “These actions got my wheels turning.”

Rabel brought the idea to fellow art teacher at Mid Valley, Jenelle Phillips, and to her administrators, Principal Jeff Kovaleski and Vice Principal Michelle Higgens, all of whom “loved the idea,” Rabel said. “And Jenelle and I ran with it.”

Because our school had been using Google Classroom, the teachers decided a Google Slide presentation would be the best platform to use.

“Google slides are able to be transformed into looking like rooms with the addition of floors, walls, picture frames, furniture etc,” Rabel said. “So I watched many YouTube tutorials and worked really hard to make each gallery fun and inviting.”

Mid Valley has a longstanding tradition of turning the school lobby and library into art galleries each year. When the coronavirus pandemic closed schools, an actual gallery wouldn’t be possible. But Rabel, who has organized the galleries for all 17 years she has been teaching at Mid Valley, knew how important it was to find a way to showcase student art this year.

“We had to think outside the box with a virtual art show, but I truly feel that we have not only accomplished this task but have made the experience even better by giving students personal slides and giving everyone an up-close and personal view of each and every piece of work,” she said.

One group of slides documents a project Rabel was able to offer her sculpture students with the help of a $500 grant from the Build a Spartan Foundation.

“The arts grant awarded to me allowed me to take a class of 17 students in grades 9-12 to Keystone College to work with professor James Harmon in learning 3D printing,” she said. “Students spent the morning designing stamps in the program Tinkercad with the intention that they would be printed and used in adding design to future ceramics projects.”

While the stamps have been printed, they remain on Keystone’s campus because of the school closures.

The show can be viewed at tinyurl.com/y9q3wfdu.

Since the art show was posted on Mid Valley’s Social media accounts, Rabel said she’s received great feedback.

“Alumni have shared the post, expressing how proud they are to call themselves an alumni of our school,” she said. “Teachers have shared the post, to show how proud they are of the kids accomplishments. Parents have posted screenshots of their children’s slides, and students have messaged us in thanks for our efforts in creating the show.”

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