Monday, February 27, 2017

Another Fab Five, just in time for Youth Art Month!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1!  Here we are, standing on the doorstep of Youth Art Month!!  Are you stressed over time?  Still need some last minute project and event ideas for elementary students?  Why not jump right in with these 5 super ideas:

1 NYSATA  Youth Art Month Bookmark lesson -
Perfect for elementary school students to distribute in your building and at the local library.

2 Create book art sculptures (handmade books or recycled folded books) for a library display.  Perfect for older students.

3 Ask your students to write a short statement about why art is important to them... and have them read these statements daily, during morning announcements.

4 Read a story about an artist each day (choose one that's grade appropriate).  Example: Action Jackson, Linnea in Monet's Garden, When Pigasso Met Mootise, Ish, The Dot, The Boy Who Drew Birds, Uncle Andy's, etc.  Hook literature right in with the art skills, concepts, or media you are currently working on.  It is a perfect way to meet Common Core Reading standards in your classroom, and remember, discussing works of art on view can count as visual text.

5 Make a giant March is Youth Art Month banner to hang in the lobby; have students and staff sign it.  Hang student work all around it. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Vacation Week "Fabulous Five" Advocacy Ideas

It is vacation week for many, and at least a long weekend for most (well, I suppose the long weekend is over by the time you'll be reading this)!  If you are off this week, use the time to 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 trip ideas for your students to experience artwork from around the world, and some from home.

Visit an online museum, or build your collection of artworks. (Art Institute of Chicago has a "build your own 3-D collection" feature.)

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

Do you love the work of George Rodrigue and his "Blue Dog"?  Take a virtual trip to New Orleans via Google and step foot in his gallery on Royal Street.  For elementary students, read Why is Blue Dog Blue? and create some mini Blue Dogs for the local humane society.

Create a Photo Story of a collection of work by an artist; include some biographical material, title slides, and music.  Display on your school web-page.

Cannot get to a museum?  Build a "Gallery Walk" - five famous works of art and gallery tags.  Challenge students to visit the gallery, observe quietly and write a "Twitter" style short critique/statement on Post-It notes as they choose their favorite work.  Post the notes and use different color Post-Its for classes or grades.  Do an informal poll to see what the top artwork is and announce to the school (beset at elementary level).  A great way to teach gallery manners, too!  Added benefit - have  the staff and teachers choose their favorites to write about as well!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Art Advocacy Fabulous 5, and a Bonus!

Here's this week's 'Fabulous Five'!

1  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.

2  Student-designed placemats and table tents can be used by local restaurants.  Challenge older students in Graphic Design to choose an area establishment in need of a 'makeover' and design a new logo/menu/etc.  Invite the owners, and any contacts you have in advertising, to choose the strongest design and discuss importance of branding to create market awareness. 

3  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 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!

4  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. 

5  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 doctor's offices and medical facilities to hang student artwork in waiting rooms and public areas.  Many are more than happy to give your space and welcome student work as a point of conversation for staff and patients!
*Perhaps your students can even do artwork that relates to the area where it is being displayed.  For example, I have a project that I do with my students that uses toothpaste as a resist for batik.  What if I asked the dentist for a donation of toothpaste samples, and then displayed the finished work in her office?  What a fun idea!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

30th Annual Arts Advocacy Day!

I of course know that March is Youth Art Month, but I just discovered that the 30th Annual Arts Advocacy Day takes place in Washing ton D.C. on March 20-21, 2017.  You can read all about it here:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Start your week with the Artful Advocate 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 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 bowls (if you cannot do the actual meal event). 

Partner with neighboring school districts and set up a traveling art show of 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 your area!

Using the food theme, combine with a study of Andy Warhol, and do a community service canned soup food drive. Use Andy's Soup Can series and the theme of "You CAN make a difference" and create a sculptural installation of the donations (in a safe area, of course) with recognition for those who contributed, and help stock up the local food pantry at a time of 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 valuable 21st century skills.  Bring students along with examples of their work, and invite all of your parents who support the art program!

Again, thank you to Donnalyn Shuster for contributing another terrific Fabulous Five!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Artists do so many things!

Last year, my friend Marcia Beckett, who blogs at Art is Basic, wrote a post about all the things that artists do.  In that post she offered free downloads of two posters that she created, that colorfully list 83 things that artists do.  WOW!

Marcia's idea is that we can advocate for our our programs by increasing awareness of just how many things that artists actually do!  Her list is impressive.  She has give me permission to share images of her posters with you here (above and below), but for your our own copies, follow this link to her post.  You will find free downloads of high resolution images of both of these posters.  Thank you Marcia, for creating such a terrific resource!

In addition, Marcia has created a big set of printable posters about what artists do, available in her TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) shop.  For a link to her TPT shop and this poster set, again hop over to her blog post here.  I think these posters could be very useful.