Sunday, August 21, 2011

Time for a TASK Party!

School starts tomorrow, and we are throwing a party--a TASK Party inspired by Oliver Herring. It was my introduction to the Art:21 Educators Institute in NYC. My cohort colleagues and I met on the sidewalk as we waited outside the Art:21 offices, and little did we know the adventure upon which we were set to embark! A TASK Party engages participants by prompting them to act on a "task" written on a piece of paper. Each then adds a "task" to the pool, so that the experience is shared and ongoing. I see this as a perfect way to launch the creative flow for the studio--engaging these young artists, actors, and musicians in using the materials they find in the studio and performing their tasks individually or together.
The room, I hope, will be transformed. Right now, the tables are set, the walls are clear of exhibits, chairs are stacked and posters/prints are on display near our discussion space. How will it look after the students experience TASK? How will they display their artifacts? What will they use to express their ideas? I can't wait for their reactions, and reflections. The beauty in all of this is that really, "Anything is Possible!" I hope they see the wonder in discovery, collaboration, sharing ideas, play, art, and exploration.
I wonder and wait.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Knitting together diverse strands of thought

I stumbled upon this video of Rachel John's Extreme Knitting project, (via Leslie Gates' blog) and realized it was a perfect springboard for a post on preparing for a new school year. August is the month when all those ideas culminate into a plan. The different yet connected threads form a unified and textured fabric--an analogy for our process of preparing for and launching our respective art classrooms and studios for the year ahead.
In these long, hot, dog-days of summer, it is pleasant to have time to participate in and reflect on a variety of experiences outside of the art classroom. I just came back from an intensive and immersive (I could add, incredible) week with Art:21, for the Art:21 Educator Institute launching my participation in the Contemporary Art for Contemporary Classrooms program. This year-long experience with a cohort of brilliant educators will be challenging and process-changing. I see how the depth of learning in the Fine Arts Studio will be further explored, how I and my students will be challenged to think in new ways about our individual approaches to art making and thinking about art. Our method thus far has touched on themes, exploring big ideas, essential questions and the like, but I realize we didn't travel far enough down these roads of "meaning-making" to fully grasp these ideas. We dabbled. We explored the elements and principles of design. We created, we reflected, and then we moved on. We have so much more to explore within each art experience, and with each one, contemporary artists via Art:21 and from the community will provide real-life context. I am looking forward to exploring how these experiences will impact our way of looking at and thinking about art. I will share the journey. In the meantime, check out these amazing resources via Art:21.
What are some ways you weave a richer art curriculum for your students?