Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two tidbits of interest from the Getty listserv

The first is a link to Principles Magazine, the entire January/February issue is dedicated to arts education. Not just every principle, but everyone period, should check these articles out, they make a poignant argument for the arts in education.

Also, but completely unrelated, are two great links to a fellow blogger who discusses her various travels in and around Eastern Europe. She has some phenomenal pictures of Kolams in India. Seeing as how I"m putting together a unit on India these were a great surprise to see, and they're so beautiful. Her blog is pretty good too, it has some inspiring images. It makes me want to go to India (right now!) Lol.

Chinese New Year (one of these days)

Happy Year of the Ox! (For all you oxen out there!) I did a great lesson with our ESL teacher, making Chinese New Year Lion and Dragon Masks using paper plates, markers, and various embellishments. For our 5 and 6 year old's we provided a face template to color in. I very rarely support the use of coloring handouts in any art lesson I do, but since I wasn't doing this one alone, and the ESL teacher bought the supplies (and the handouts) I went along with it. For pre-k the templates are a great way to make pretty impressive looking masks, but for regular elementary grades I much prefer them to draw their own. Here are a few of the results! As a follow up activity I had the kids make construction paper lanterns and two GIANT dragon 'parade floats', which were really one sided dragon banners that I hung in the junior recreation room. They were done in primary colors only and each student made a body part that I then connected together to make the whole peice. I'll have pictures up of that tomorrow or the next day. I really wanted to get into NYC to see the parade but yet again, it doesn't look like it's going to happen, oh well, maybe one of these days...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Brought to my attention by my students, after doing a Keith Haring lesson, the went on a tear about an artist named 'Banksy'. After googling his name, I found a pretty good short (9 min) video on youtube describing him. If you like elusive British artists, better yet, if you like street art you MUST check him out. I don't think I've ever been so inspired to draw on the walls of buildings!

Here's the link:

Boys and Girls Club National Fine Arts Exhibit

Last week was the Girls and Boys Club of America's 'National Fine Art Exhibit. Each club (the local level) hosts a juried art show consisting of all the artwork done since September. Each of the three judges votes on their favorite pieces in 9 different categories (multi-colored, b & w, pastels, acrylic & oil, collage, sculpture, group project, watercolor, and mixed media) in 4 different age groups (9 or younger, 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18). The winning pieces get sent to the regional exhibit, and voted on there; where if they win, they get sent to the national compeition and become elgible for cash prizes and club grants.

Considering that I run an art program where they kids come on a voluntary basis, I amassed a pretty decent amount of work to show! Unfortunately I didn't have much middle school work (middle schoolers are so damn fickle!), and hardly any high school work, but I had quite a bit of elementary level pieces. The 9 and younger age category was particularly frustrating because the cognitive ability of a 4th grader is so drastically different than that of a 1st grader, that to lump their artistic accomplishments together into one category made it really hard to judge. What ended up happening, which I can only assume happens in other clubs as well, is that the 5 to seven years olds works get trumnped by the 8 or 9 year olds work and never gets picked. My other problem is that December is so early in the year to have an art show, it was really hard to cover all those mediums in successfull lessons, I wished I had more time. Alas, to combat this I spoke with my director and have put in for an end of year art show in the gymnasium, which I think will be great. The only downside to that is that I pretty much am the entire 'art department' so prepping the work, setting it up, and displaying it will be a ton of work.

Anyways, the show we had was great, we had it in the learning center of the club, a fairly large sized room. The artwork was mounted on matt board and construction paper and posted on large black bi-fold partitions. We served potato chips, cookies, and popcorn, which the kids consumed voraciously and we had quite a few parents come by and check the work out. I even put up a vote box for 'best in show' so that the members and staff could vote for their top three picks. I wish I could've had the show in the local library, but if you'd beleive it, all the local libraries were booked up for the entire year! I put in for 2010 at the Tilles Center, but who knows if it'll pan out. Overall it was my first student art show and I think I did a pretty good job. Hopefully every show here after will get even better.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We need a secretary of the arts!

I came across this on the Getty art teachers listserv that I subscribe to. It's a petition to president elect Barack Obama to elect a secretary of the arts (and culture), a position which is held in other countries but has never been held here. So here's the link:

We need more art~Go sign the petition!!