Saint James
Saint James School
Montgomery, Alabama

Elementary School Visual Arts Instruction

Saint James offers age appropriate visual art curriculum to grades Pre-K3 through 5th grade. Our students attend art class with Mrs. Pelham once a week throughout the entire school year. Students are introduced to the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design which are the building blocks of creating a work of art. The elements of art are line, shape, color, value, texture, space, and form. The principles of design include balance, contrast, emphasis, pattern, movement, unity, and rhythm. While learning the elements and principles, students are introduced to various media and production skills, and are encouraged to use critical and creative thinking. Students often participate in cross curricular projects combining visual arts with concepts they are learning in other subjects. For example, students participate in “Dot Day”, a fun day inspired by the Book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The several enrichments played a part in making “Dot Day” come to life. Library read the book, Art created dot inspired artwork on a special print out that works with an app they learn about in technology, and in music they sang and watched a video of a song inspired by the book. The art classroom is stocked with quality material for drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed media. Each child keeps a portfolio of their work to take home documenting what they have created during the year.

Mrs. Patti Reed Pelham, Elementary School Visual Art Teacher


Patti Reed Pelham, '96
Elementary School Visual Art Instructor
I believe that Visual art is an essential educating part of educating the whole child. Visual art promotes emotional well being of a person and can be used as a therapeutic outlet and at the same time can be very challenging and precise in executing skill. It uses both sides of the brain, creative and logical at the same time. It enhances fine motor skills, increases spacial awareness, promotes creative and critical thinking, and facilitates understanding visual communication. Visual arts help to link larger ideas across curriculum and children relate concepts to the real world.

As a Commissioned Artist, one of the most fun pieces I worked on was a mural for a little girl's special attic loft playroom in a restored building in a downtown Montgomery residence. It was based off of her love of the animals of the rainforest. I researched the plants and animals of the rainforest and created a design that had the feel of being in the top of an ancient ruin with the tops of the trees full of birds and animals and beautiful parrots flying by. It was such a fun space and a big surprise for the child!

Patti received her BFA from Auburn University and her Masters of Education from Auburn University, Montgomery. She has taught visual art to children, preschool through high school, over the past fifteen years. Patti is a published photographer, has participated and placed in numerous juried shows, and is an active member Alabama Arts Education Association/National Arts Education Association, AAEA/NAEA. In her spare time, Patti volunteers at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 4H, and the Alabama Horse Council. She is a member of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church and has enjoyed painting murals in schools and private residences.