FLEMINGTON, NJ - A Robert Hunter Elementary School art teacher has guided students to display thousands of pieces of artwork on artsonia.com, the largest online student art museum in the world.

Marie Corfield has worked with the students to showcase her students’ works, a total of 2,500 pieces of student art this school year.

“I enrolled Robert Hunter a couple of years after I started working here,” she said. “With parent permission, I assign galleries to their children. Then, whenever a student creates a new piece, I photograph and upload it. The parents then get an email notification that their child has new work.”
Corfield has been maintaining the digital student portfolios on the site for 11 years, accumulating more than 25,000 pieces of art.

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Artsonia helps thousands of teachers in more than 100 countries around the world create online student art galleries and portfolios. Parents and other relatives can view the work online, leave comments and order keepsakes featuring the art.

A total of 20 percent of merchandise revenue goes back to local classrooms.

Corfield said that in a school as diverse as Robert Hunter, there are students with family members all over the world.

“My students’ online portfolios or galleries help connect them to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives they may not see that often,” she said. “Relatives can leave messages on students’ artwork, and they can purchase items imprinted with their artwork, such as mugs, mouse pads, tote bags, jewelry, ornaments and so many other things.”

“These make great keepsake gifts, plus a percentage of the proceeds comes back to the art department,” she added. “I can use that money for ‘wish list’ items that I may not otherwise be able to afford, or to re-stock mid-year if a certain material runs low.”

Corfield said that one of the fun things they have done as a school community as a result of the site is a permanent art installation at the school.

“I taught a whole-school project based on the art of Jay Goldcrown, who is known for his spray-painted graffiti heart murals,” she said. “Parents purchased a ceramic tile with their child’s work printed on it, then we assembled them into a permanent piece. It’s a beautiful addition to our space.”
Corfield said students can also win awards on Artsoria for things like most pieces published in a week, most comments on art and more.

“It’s a very interactive way to connect art to the community at large,” she said.

Corfield said the students this year have been creating art at a pace she has never seen before. She has converted the program from project-based to choice-based, and students are more engaged than before.

“They work in centers rather than the whole class working on the same project at the same time,” she said. “So in any given class period, students may be working on drawings, paintings, fiber pieces, clay or sculpture. It’s a true art studio.”

Corfield said the students also learn how to care for an art room, make it their own and give it to the next class.

“Sometimes I feel like the facilitator where I'm guiding and suggesting,” she said. “Sometimes it's exhausting because there's so much creativity happening in the room and there's only one of me, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love all the creative energy, and I'm so proud of all my students and what they have accomplished this year.”