Friday, June 1, 2018

Putting your best foot forward

How we present ourselves can make a big difference.  
If we want people to value our programs, we need to make an extra effort to always consider how we are viewed.  But how we present ourselves means more than just our physical presentation (the clothing we wear, our posture, how we speak, and such).  It can also refer to how we present ourselves in writing.  A recent post about pet peeves, on my blog There's a Dragon in My Art Room, addressed this topic.  The post inspired enough dialogue for me to feel it was worthy enough to also discuss/repeat here. 

When you send information about your program to parents, school board, or administration, or when you make signs for an art show, or when you write an article for a newsletter or a press release for a newspaper, or when you post on your school district website or other social media, you can expect that, if you don't review and edit what you have written, there will be mistakes.  And someone will notice your errors, and those errors will reflect negatively on you.  

 Here are a few commonly made mistakes that you should be aware of when you write:
  • Complementary colors:  Colors placed opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors.  You give someone a compliment when you want to say something nice.  Note the spelling difference.
  • Tempera paint:  We paint with tempera paint, not tempura paint. Tempura is a Japanese dish of  batter fried seafood or veggies.  Delicious, but definitely not something you paint with!  Again, make note of the spelling difference.  Since they are both 'real' words, you can't count on spell-check to make sure you are using the correct spelling.  As a matter of fact, if you are not careful, it might even auto-correct you to the wrong word!
  • Your or you'reMake sure you are using the correct word.  Your is possessive, something that belongs to you, and you're is a contraction for you are
  • There is no apostrophe before the 's' in a plural.  Using an apostrophe before an 's' creates a possessive.  
  •  Principal:  Your principal is your administrator.  To remember the correct spelling, remember that he or she is your pal!  A principle is something you believe, a foundation for a belief.  Make sure you are using the correct word. 
  • Be careful about the spelling of the names of artists!  
    • Jackson Pollock, not Pollack
    • Michelangelo, not Michaelangelo 
    • Faith Ringgold has a double 'g'
    • Georgia O'Keeffe has a double 'f'
Proofread, proofread, proofread!  
Spell-check, and double check when you are not 100% sure.  People will notice!  If you are hoping to convince people of the value of your program,  you need to present everything you do knowing that how people respond to it might help or hurt you.  Don't give them opportunities to find errors in your presentation! 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

10 Quick Start Youth Art Month Ideas for 2018

Youth Art Month has begun!  Here's 10 ideas to quick-start your involvement!  Pay special attention to #10, and remember to document everything you do for YAM!
Ask your principal to sign a  Youth Art Month Endorsement Certificate.  Ask your mayor and/or superintendent to sign a Youth Art Month Proclamation.  Display them prominently in your school office or lobby.  Print the forms out and send in documentation!
Create a bulletin board in honor of Youth Art Month.  You can use the new national theme adopted by the Council for Art Education (Building Community Through Art).  Send your state a JPEG photo of your bulletin board!
If your school has an art show this month, include the Youth Art Month logo in the signage and promotional materials.  Download the YAM logo here:
Arrange to have art highlighted in your school's daily announcements through the month of March. You could have art quotes read, or announce an "Artist of the Day" - it could be a student artist or a famous artist.  Comment to let us know what you did!
Announce Youth Art Month on your school web site.  Send your state your link!
If you are in NY State, post what you are doing on our NY YAM Facebook page or ideas on our Pinterest Board.
Team up with language arts teachers to have students write statements about what art means to them, why art class is important, or what their favorite art experience has been.  Or write letters to public officials about the importance of art in our schools!  Send copies to your state!  We love student quotes!
Ask a local business (or two or three or more) to support  Youth Art Month by programming receipt printers to include a simple statement, such as "March is Youth Art Month... Support Art in _____ Schools" or by displaying student art for the public to enjoy.
Issue certificates of appreciation to parents who support your art program, thanking them for being a "Friend of the Art Department."  Use a template or create one of your own, or  have a student design it!
Document, document, document!!  Let your YAM co-chairs know whatever you do - big or small - to acknowledge and promote Youth Art Month so it can be included in your state's report.  In NY, check back HERE for the Google Forms link. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Feb 26-March 2 Fab 5: YAM Kick-Off Week!

It's just a couple of days till YAM (Youth Art Month) kick-off time!  Here are some great ideas for you to use.  You might want to take particular note of bonus tip #6, about Make Art Monday, which is something you can do every week. 
Make prints of student artwork, frame and present to local officials.  Walmart or Walgreen's make cost efficient 5x7's or 8x10's.  Use this as a photo op for YAM during our first week in March.
Ask  your BOE for an endorsement of Youth Art Month.
School-wide mural project - Collaboration/Unity them. Everyone creates a panel to add.  Or use the Post-It Challenge.  Plan colors of Post-It notes to spell out school mascot or initials.  (ex: Liverpool Middle School = LMS.)
10x10 (or 12x12) art challenge for students and staff using any media.  Install in school foyer. 
In cold climates - YAM Snow Sculpture Challenge! Bundle up and brave the cold to create a temporary sculptural piece!  Complete in teams or classes!  In warmer climates, go outside and create Andy Goldsworthy temporary installations.  Photograph and enlarge to display indoors.

And don't forget...
Make Art Monday - every Monday in March, and share with us what you are doing in your classroom/school/community for the visual arts.  Use the hashtag #MakeArtMonday and share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and at our YAM NYS page!

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Couple of Art Advocacy Mid-Winter Break Ideas!

It is vacation week for many, or at least a long weekend for most!  Rest and recharge, as Youth Art month is less than two weeks away.  If you cannot get away for a vacation, use some of these virtual art trips for your students to experience artwork from around the world, and some from home. 
Visit an online museum or build your own online collection of artworks.  (Art Institute of Chicago has a  build your own collection feature.)

Hold an Artist in Residence Program during March - invite in local community artists to demonstrate and/or talk to students.  Do you have local museums nearby?  Set up a visit, and if area artists have work exhibited, try to arrange it so that they can be present to discuss the work with your students.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Art Advocacy Fab Five plus a BONUS!

Here's this week's Fab Five Art Advocacy ideas, plus a bonus, all courtesy of our regular contributor, Donnalyn Schuster.  Thank you, Donnalyn, for the SIX wonderful ideas this week!

Plan a statewide postcard exchange with another school, or create artist trading cards to swap.  Consider, too, a postcard campaign - to state legislators - about the value of art education, and combine that with a lesson on the First Amendment.
Have students design placemats and table tents that can be used by local restaurants.  Challenge older students in Graphic Design to choose an area establishment in need of a 'makeover' and design new logo/menu/etc.  Invite the owners and any contacts you have in advertising, to choose the strongest design and discuss the importance of branding to create market awareness.
Start to hang student work of the week in the principal's office/main office area of your building and in the administrative offices (superintendent etc).  Add in the NEW Visual Arts Standards, your Essential Question and student reflection for a reminder of the importance of the art program to the school curriculum that cannot be ignored!
 Planning a YAM show?  Select an 'honorary chairperson' from local, well-known artists or 'local celebrities' who support the arts.  Give them an honorary certificate and invite them to your show opening.
Be sure your Media Advisories are out this week for any show in March - and that info is up on your school website and community calendars at your local TV and radio stations.

*BONUS Idea!
Approach local doctors' offices and medical facilities to hang student art work in waiting grooms and public areas.  Many are more than happy to give you space and welcome student work as a point of conversation for staff and patients!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Another February Art Advocacy Fab Five!

Long winter days need some special events built in to move them along.  These ideas lend themselves perfectly to classroom curriculum, build the concept of teamwork and planning, and can become great advocacy PR pieces for the local newspaper.  The old saying "You have to be a hero in your community first" is so true in art advocacy!
Does Valentine's Day excitement have you feeling blue rather than red?  Create a school-wide UNITY event based on the work of Jim Dine and his Hearts series in multiple media for K-5. Tie it in with PE, as many schools celebrate Heart Month with different event challenges.  Dovetail with classroom teachers talking about the need for good nutrition and organize a healthy snack day for all.  Need ideas?  Check out Pinterest under Jim Dine for exciting lessons. 

Hungry for more?  Older students (grades 6-12) can do the Empty Bowls project and join forces with community food banks in raising money.  Tie in a nutrition study with Family and Consumer Science classes and have local grocery stores donate dried soup ingredients to package up in Ziploc bags to be auctioned off with blows (if you cannot do the actual meal event).

Partner with a neighboring school district and set up a traveling art show - 5-6 pieces that move from school to school.  Great way to collaborate for the arts, and showcase not only YOUR students, but those in the area.
Using the food theme combined with a study of Andy Warhol, do a community service canned food soup drive.  Use Andy's 'Soup Can' series and theme of "You CAN make a difference", plus a sculptural installation of the donations (in a safe area, of course) and recognition for those who contribute, and help stock up the local food pantry at a time of the year when things may be scarce.  Involve your Art Club, Honor Society, Student Council, or K-Kids (Kiwanis organization for younger students).

Budget time, for many, is getting close.  Schedule a time slot at the next Board of Education meeting and share with them the interdisciplinary value of art, and how you are preparing students with 21st century skills.  Bring students along with examples of their work, and invite all of your parents who support the program!    

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Begin February with an Art Advocacy Fab Five!

2018 is one month old!  Here are some ways to liven up February as we move closer to Youth Art Month.  Many high schools have a Senior Night/Spirit Week during this time, and there are some GREAT ideas here guaranteed to energize the celebrations!  These ideas are also great for elementary and middle schools, almost any time of the year!

Do a Stop Drop and Draw - everyone in the school - for 15 minutes.  Have the entire school (and staff) display their work!
So You Think You Can Draw Challenge - do this challenge by grade level/class, or hold a faculty and staff challenge
Invite local artists to YAM openings; make them honorary chairpersons. (Line these folks up now!)
If your community has an electronic billboard for community events, see if they can scan in an piece of student work to promote YAM as it approaches, or to promote one of the school-wide arts events listed here.
Create a cutout in a famous work of art: for example, The Scream, Mona Lisa, or America Gothic:  Have photos taken of kids in the cutout for $1, and donate the proceeds to a local charity.  Be sure the cutout has the YAM logo on it!  Do this at school events.  Better yet, bring it out into the community!