Monthly Mentor

Lynne Horoschak (October)
Lynne Horoschak is the Program Manager of the MA in Art Education with an Emphasis in Special Populations at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. This one-of-a-kind program was launched in 2009 and continues as a hybrid Online + On-Campus in summer 2014. The Graduate Program sponsors an annual Art and Special Education Symposium, which features nationally known keynote speakers on relevant and current topics and provides the opportunity for art educators and all people who care for people with disabilities to share challenges and successes.

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Wednesday 10. 1.14

Art Teachers Network

It is not secret that most of us work in isolation. We are the lone art teacher in the school and we are painfully aware that no one knows the challenges we face. No one else is teaching 500 or 1,000 kids a week; each having their own individual quirks and strengths and parents and concerns. That’s a lot of quirks. And along with the quirks, we have supplies to manage – when we have supplies! – to pass out and clean up every 45 minutes -  and back to back classes and children with disabilities who are included in an already  over filled class – and we love it!

When I was teaching my six classes a day, five days a week, there weren’t the resources that are available today via the internet and chat rooms and blogs. So when we had a chance together to listen and learn from one another, it was magic. So in spite of the technology today, nothing quite replaces getting together face-to-face to talk through a concern or a lesson that didn’t go as planned ….

Back in January, art teachers from the Philadelphia School District were invited to Moore College of Art & Design to chat. To share stories of their challenges and successes.  Five art teachers came.  In May, ten came. And it was unanimously agreed that we would continue the conversation. Last week, Leslie sent out a letter to the all the art teachers inviting them to come and continue the conversation. The date was set. We are ready with food.

Thirty eight years ago, six newly hired art teachers got together every month to talk about their struggles and successes. They continued it through their entire career and they were among the best art teachers in the city. Nothing beats supporting your own with a little one-on-one conversation.

-Lynne Horoschak | Distinguished Professor
Program Manager of MA in Art Education
Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Monday 09.29.14

WANT TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? GET CONNECTED!

If you are a current or aspiring art teacher who went into teaching to make a difference by working with students to identify and develop their creative gifts ... YOU should consider expanding your own voice so that you are able to guide others in the development of their own. 'While you may be very busy...even satisfied...locked away within the four walls of your classroom it is my opinion that you will find yourself re-thinking or revising your decision to be an art teacher if you remain isolated. You and your students will lose. As long as you remain isolated, your potential as a teacher and that of your students’ may result in a loss of viability, visibility, and value. It is in community with others that we inform and showcase our practice, share successes and failures, build self confidence, develop strengths, grow professionally and personally. As an art teacher you will encounter attitudes that may make you feel that your art curriculum is not an important one. Art teachers are often driven out of the profession because of the attitudes that art is an unnecessary subject. This is often reinforced by reducing the teacher's practice to a rolling cart, struggle for funding, and teacher-pupil overload. It has been my experience that the teachers that maintained a positive outlook as art teachers and as art advocates benefitted not only from the respect they gained from their administration and colleagues, but from their student's success. Your ART curriculum has to be important to you every day or it will not be important to others any day.
       
One of the most important decisions I made as an art education student was to not only join the student chapter of my state art education association, but to become actively involved. Paying my dues is one of the most important investments I make annually. This involvement has led to professional growth which led to leadership opportunities. You grow and your whole world and those in it grow too.  Once you find yourself outside of the four walls of your classroom you will find multiple opportunities for professional and personal growth. At the top of my list for getting the most bang for a buck is to attend a local, state, and/or national conference. Each conference venue usually offers multiple platforms for learning about the latest findings in art education research, current trends in theory and practice, and provides a venue for teachers to share their lessons, their own art, and that of their students'. One of the most meaningful outcomes of going beyond your classroom is in people connecting...the friendships and partnerships, the collaborations and possibilities stretch from coast to coast. Plus, you get the chance to meet your own art hero up close and personal! It was through such venues that I was able to not only meet my own art heroes but was fortunate enough to partner with them through grants to bring them into my school and/or district. Art heroes such as Faith Ringgold (Tar Beach), Ron DeLong (Crayola DreamMakers), Fred Babb (Go to Your Studio and Make Stuff), Pam Stephens and Jim McNeil (Dropping in On series), Ralph Eggleston (Toy Story I), CC Lockwood (Marsh Mission), EB Lewis (Coming on Home Soon, Caldecott winner) are a few that have not only enriched my life, but also those of my colleagues and my students. It is difficult at best to be invisible when you make these kinds of "high voltage" connections.  
      
BobbiAnother important decision I made as an art educator was to acquire the credentials and training needed to open up my classroom as a "lab" to the art education department of the local college and to be a cooperating teacher for pre-service teachers. If you want to gain an in-depth understanding of your subject, learn as much as you teach, stay current in your field, and expose your students to multiple perspectives leading to additional successes, you should explore this connection. I even got lucky enough to mentor twins that have gone on to make a difference!
      
Take advantage of every chance you get to help your students succeed...Take It, Make it, Do it. You are their connection to a whole new world and it is your responsibility to do just that. Every lesson you teach should be connected to Art Standards that guide your teaching and valid assessment. Additionally lessons should provide opportunities for creative discovery, spark imagination, develop skills and techniques, and be grounded in Elements of Art and Principles of Design from seeing to doing to evaluating. The more visible your program the more viable. Remember the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick: "A person totally wrapped up in him-self makes a small package."

-Bobbi Yancey
Art Specialist, NBCT/Art Consultant
Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, Lake Charles, LA

Wednesday 09.24.14

Strategies and Partnerships - Creating opportunities for your students to shine!

The art department of our school system has been privileged to partner with community organizations, business, industry, and even the mayor’s office over the years to create opportunities to showcase art programs in schools that feature both teacher and student. I was reminded of how special these relationships are recently. One such event, the Mayor’s 10, was a highlight of my week. Ten student works depicting personal expressions of the culture of Louisiana were on display at a local art and cultural center. Images of egrets, shrimp boats, alligators, magnolias and more were displayed on easels encircling a stage while the artists, their parents and teachers were celebrated. This process has been repeated for 6 years now providing a public showcase for 60 students with a commitment from the mayor for many more to follow.  

This past week I was involved in another event sponsored by a local nonprofit arts organization. Members of the community were asked to glaze a ceramic bisque bowl for a small fee to benefit a nonprofit organization raising funds to train dogs for veterans and autistic children suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Students from elementary to high-school, local leaders, and sports celebrities from the community and neighboring cities participated in this day long art event. Thousands of dollars were raised, in addition to awareness of a great need. 

In the coming weeks I will be participating in several more events and award ceremonies that will feature local artists, students and their teachers. The opportunities for schools and programs in the arts to be spotlighted in my district are commonplace. But, it has not always been that way. Twenty years ago there were less than 20 art teachers…today there are 60. Why? Because of the strategies and partnerships that were developed that led to one opportunity after another to spotlight Art Education programs in our schools. I would like to share a few ways you might “spotlight” art in your school that may create opportunities for you.

1. Help with city wide beautification—Paint murals or other public art in your school or community.
2. Exhibit, Exhibit, Exhibit—Showcase your student’s art work everywhere you can make an impact …you can even display from the ceiling tiles down the hallways of your school.
3. Create partnerships with local business, gallery, or museum to sponsor school–wide or district art exhibit. Ask your principal to sponsor a rotating art exhibit in the office, library, or front lobby of your school.
4. Document, Document, Document—Send and share with local newspapers, TV stations, the information specialist in your school system, your school board, and send newsletters home.
5. Create a web page.
6. Write and submit articles about your student art work. Enter competitions.
7. Join and participate in arts and community organizations that build positive relationships.

These are just a few ideas that have worked well for schools in my school district. Please share any that have been successful for you.

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Thursday 09.11.14

Puzzled by Punk?

Need a little something extra to spice up your art curriculum? Why not try the popular artistic movement known as steampunk? If you have not heard of this unique visual feast that features imagery of nineteenth century Victorian England colliding with the industrial mechanisms, clocks, assorted machine parts, and technology of the modern world this blog is my opportunity to introduce the endless creative possibilities that are available to you. Steampunk is a science fiction, pop-culture phenomenon that engages and spans fine art, music, performance, fashion, graphic design, and the humanities. The Steam in steampunk refers to the era of steam technology that took over the 19th century. The punk invokes the idea of rebellion against the change in the landscape resulting from the Industrial Revolution. Every corner of 19th century life was affected from transportation to medicines to weaponry---more than enough to draw artistic inspiration from. The visual canvas called steampunk is filled with imagery of women in fashionable Victorian dress with parasols, lace, hand fans, birds, etc. portrayed opposite  images of industry including metal gears, time pieces, machinery and the  fantastic technology born years ago from science fiction giants such as Jules Verne and  H.G Wells. Metalwork and taxidermy merge in this movement.

As a half time consultant with our school system art department I was charged with the task of developing resources and activities for our 60 art specialists as preparation for an upcoming teacher art exhibit. Whether teachers were new to steam-punk or longtime fans I felt it would provide a canvas for an artistic adventure and spark conversation. My supervisor and I brainstormed our way to centering the exhibit on the shape and idea of Puzzles. He coined the title “Puzzled by Punk”. Each teacher was charged with the task of transforming a floor puzzle piece into a steampunk work of art. They were provided metallic sharpies, Kraft colored collage papers, embellishments of all kinds…both Victorian and Industrial. Teachers left the In-Service excited about the opportunity to transform the 14 x 18 inch wooden puzzle piece they received into a work or art. Below are a few examples of some linked puzzle pieces from the activity.

I hope that you are inspired to explore the steampunk world on your own. Your students may already know all about it…hopefully you can share this visual adventure with them.  

 

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Monday 09. 1.14

The Art of Service Learning

Because art teachers have the unique advantage of nurturing learners within the context of shared community they (YOU) provide the perfect setting for opportunities for social change that inspires and teaches students to care about each other and for others through service learning experiences.  In the case of the arts, art specialists can provide a creative community with expertise in areas that encompass all forms of artistic expression from visual to performing arts to media arts.  1

I began my career as an elementary art educator during a time when character education was emphasized to the point that our governor gave up his salary to fund character education award programs across our state.  I was a recipient of one of these monetary awards.  My “windfall” helped me to kick start a theatrical troupe of elementary “Art Angels”.  I hired a thespian/clown to teach these students the professional makeup techniques of the four types of clowns and tricks associated with the art of clowning.  This training coupled with the student’s visual art training enabled them to visit nursing homes and women and children’s shelters in our community to provide “art therapy” for the residents.  

Another public art service learning project that I spearheaded engaged artists, elementary as well as college students, non-profit agencies, volunteers from the community, and residents of the local Women and Children’s Shelter. Everyone came together to build a structure adorned with hand painted butterfly ceramic tiles. This House for Butterflies is a symbol for the victims of abuse and violence that pass through the doors of the shelter.  It demonstrates the “metamorphosis” the residents go through in their journey for healing and independence. The circular space was built in such a way that it allowed for clear passage in and out and seating for contemplation and reflection as well as plants and decorative wood houses for a variety of butterflies.2

Currently I am teaching at a high school that buses students in from throughout the school district.  Even with limited access and the rigorous demands of the secondary academic schedule, students have contributed about 200 bowls to the Salvation Army Empty Bowl project over the past two years and are planning even more this year.  Last year the Salvation Army raised approximately $10,000…each “empty” bowl represents $100.00.  

Service learning is an integral part of my curriculum.  As an art teacher I believe that my role is not only to help develop students’ creative gifts, but to encourage and guide them in sharing them.  As we embark on a new year full of promise, I hope you will consider including “Service Learning” as part of your curriculum.

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Tuesday 08.19.14

Teacher Resources

We, as teachers, are always being asked to incorporate technology in our classrooms. And as some of us know, this is not always an easy task in the art room. Therefore, my purpose for this post is to be a resource for art teachers. A tool that you can turn to when you want to try something new, discover a fresh way to uncover contemporary art, take a different approach to sharing your ideas and philosophies with students and staff, etc. Below you will find a list of some of the resources and tools I utilize on a daily basis. Look them up, try them out, and uncover what works and doesn’t work in your classroom.
•    Pinterest
•    Google Drive
•    Dropbox
•    TeachersPayTeachers.com
•    NAEA website
•    State Organization Websites
•    Facebook
•    Twitter
•    Netflix
•    Tumblr
•    YouTube
•    Art 21 Resources
•    Art Education (NAEA) journal
•    Art Education/Art blogs
•    Art for Life: Authentic Instruction in Art
•    Olivia Gude :)
•    Austin Kleon
•    Art Education for a Change by David Darts
•    Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education
•    Juxtapoz Magazine
•    Rolling Stone Magazine
•    www.artsy.com
•    www.contemporaryarted.com
•    www.visualnews.com
•    www.streetartutopia.com
•    www.core77.com
•    Street Artists
•    Flipboard App - Personal Magazine (on all devices)
•    Instagram
•    LinkedIn
•    ArtGallery App
•    ColorSnap App
•    UKIYOE App
•    Copper Relief App
•    SketchBookX App
•    Sbapix Free App
•    Geometric App
•    iMotion App
•    What The Font
•    Ted Talks

Hopefully my few suggestions get the ball rolling for you as we enter a new school year.
Happy teaching!

-Daniel Humphrey, Art Educator, Holy Name High School, Parma Hts., Ohio

Friday 08. 8.14

New School Year, New Students

As we approach the start of another school year, it is key that we take the correct approach with our students. For an art educator (or any teacher for that matter), as new students enter your room for the first time, it is the your duty to make them feel welcomed. The first week sets the tone for the entire semester. You can either be the teacher that everyone respects and loves, or you can be that “weirdo” teacher at the end of the hall. The choice is yours.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is GET TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS. Use the first week to connect with them on somewhat of a personal level. As I stated in the Be a ‘Real’ Teacher post, take the time to talk with each student every day. Talk about things that interest them. But most of all have fun! Take a few minutes at the start of every class to share stories. The kids will love it and you will get to know them on a completely different level.

Another extremely helpful piece of advice is to EASE THE STUDENTS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT. Don’t go at them with guns blazing…it’s the first week, not final portfolio reviews. I like to start my first two days of class with a sketch activity. I ask the students to draw things that will help me get to know them/understand them better. I grade my sketches on completion, not skill, so the students automatically begin to feel safe to explore their imagination. The first “project” I assign the students is the Post-It Note/Sharpie Challenge (which I “borrowed” from another art teacher in the local area). With this project, I provide my students with prompts such as:

• An unexpected hero
• A moment you want to remember forever
• Someone you love
• A bad habit
• What inspires you
• Etc.

The students then draw an image representing one of the topics on a Post-It Note. Once the drawing is complete, they are introduced to the Sharpie challenge. Their Post-It Note must either be at least 50% black, contain thick or thin lines, or contain some type of pattern. Once everyone in the class finishes their Post-It Notes, we assemble them into a class mural that hangs outside the art room throughout the duration of the semester.

The first week of any class can be a scary time for both the students and the teacher. I have found the key to a successful semester begins with how well you execute the first week. Use that week to set the tone for the term—exposing the students to your rules and expectations. But most importantly, get to know your kids! Let them know that your room is a safe place for them to explore their imagination.  Not only will this earn your respect with your class, but it will also lead to student success.

-Daniel Humphrey, Art Educator, Holy Name High School, Parma Hts., Ohio

Friday 08. 1.14

Be a ‘Real’ Teacher

As summer is winding down and the school year is just around the corner, I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the fact that I will be starting a job at a new school—with a different environment, a different staff, and most importantly, different students. In order to deal with this sense of anxiety, I reflected back on letters and conversations I had with the kids at my previous school, and one particularly stands out.

An 8th grade girl once told me, "Mr. Humphrey… you’re not a ‘normal’ teacher. You’re a ‘real’ teacher.  Do you know what I mean? You actually care about us, you joke around with us… you poke fun at us and we can poke fun right back at you. You not only teach us stuff about art, you teach us stuff about life and being a good person."

It is a simple, but often overlooked task. Teaching isn’t so much about the subject, but rather the relationships. Kids take away what they want from your class, and let’s be honest, the majority of your students probably won’t become fine artists; however, they will need that out of the box thinking in whatever career they choose. Most importantly, they will need that 21st century skillset the rest of their lives. So teaching isn’t so much about the memorization of a subject, and art education isn’t about training your kids to be the next Picasso or Warhol. Teaching is about providing opportunities for your students to grow into well-rounded members of society. Teaching is about being there for your students, helping them through the sad and happy times. Teaching is about being ‘real.’

It might not always be the best way (depending on your definition of best), but I always try to be ‘real’ with my students. By being ‘real,’ I mean that I tell them how it is—how the world works. I make accommodations in order to spark their interests and connect with them on a personal level. I take time to talk with every student, make eye contact with each one, and poke fun at a few of the thicker skins. I build a relationship with them in which they know nobody is perfect—including me. I do what I need to for my students. They are with me the majority of the day; therefore, it is my duty to give them the information that they need. If my students want to learn to change a flat tire, you know I am going to do what I have to in order to connect changing a flat tire to the world of art.

A wise man (and by wise man I mean my cooperating teacher during student teaching) once told me “teaching is about getting the students what they need, NOT what they want.” Sure, we all have our ups and downs, our good days and bad days; but at the end of the period, week, quarter, semester, etc., if the students walk away with the knowledge that they truthfully need, I think it is safe to say we did our jobs.

-Daniel Humphrey, Art Educator, Holy Name High School, Parma Hts., Ohio

Monday 07.28.14

Artists and Influence

Last week, Joshua Wolf Shenk wrote an article, The End of Genius, for the New York Times. In a nutshell, it discusses the idea that was propagated in the nineteenth century of the solitary artist genius. While we now know that the great artists worked alongside other artists and ran workshops with many artists, the idea of the artist genius still holds on with some. As the museum I work in has works of art by most of the major Spanish masters I want to explore the idea of artists and influence as a teaching concept in your own classroom.  

The Meadows Museum is fortunate to own three paintings by the 17th century Spanish master, Diego Velázquez. We also have six paintings by the 18th century painter Francisco de Goya. Goya was privileged as an artist to have found an appointment as a painter at the court of Madrid while he was in his 20s. Having access to the royal palaces meant he had access to the great collections that today make up the foundation of the Prado Museum.  Goya acknowledged three masters: Rembrandt, Velázquez, and nature. Goya’s study of Velázquez is clearly documented in a series of drawings he made after the great paintings by the master in the royal collections. He created the drawings with the intention of creating a series of etchings that would be reproducible and therefore make the work of Velázquez better known. Goya was influenced by a number of different artists from his time. Some scholars believe that works in his famous print series, Los Caprichos, were influenced by prints made by the Italian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo who was also working for King Charles III in Madrid.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), Prince Balthasar Carlos as Hunter (after Velázquez), 1778-79. Red Crayon over preliminary drawing in pencil. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kupferstichkabinett (38540). Photo by Christoph Irrgang.

Velázquez was also influenced by his master Francisco Pacheco, who he trained with in Seville. He worked and met many of the major artists of his time including Peter Paul Rubens, with whom he shared a Madrid studio in 1827-28. While traveling in Italy, Velázquez met with the Spanish master Jusepe de Ribera.  The artist whose influence might be the strongest on Velázquez is the Venetian painter Titian, whose work he was able to study in depth in the Spanish royal collections. There is a distinct softening in Velázquez’s painting style after he viewed the works of Titian and other Italian masters.

I mention all this to say that art is about influence, and invention is really born through what is learned and adapted from others.  While I am sure that we often encourage students to copy after other artists, we do not do enough to encourage the kind of sharing and building, and, in some cases, freely stealing in order to invent and create something new, as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque often did.  I say this also as an artist myself who often will take what close artist friends are doing in their work and try it out in my own. Of course there are times when something I make reminds me too much of someone else’s work. However, after a while, artists will assimilate what really works for them and it becomes their own again. I hope you will take the opportunity to discuss the idea of artists and their influences with your students and come up with unique ways to get them to look at art and find what really inspires them. 

-Scott Winterrowd, Curator of Education, Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University

Wednesday 07.16.14

Strategies for Facilitating a Conversation about a Work of Art

We all know that how we interface with each museum is a little different. Most often students interact in a gallery experience with a volunteer or possibly a paid gallery teacher. The teacher in the museum experience will most likely provide information about a set of objects, sometimes through questioning strategies, or possibly activities. While for many years, educators in museums crafted questions to investigate a work of art, today many in the art museum education field approach teaching with works of art through a facilitated discussion. In this entry I will discuss some ways to begin thinking about opening up the conversation and making a level playing field for talking about a work of art in your classroom.

You will want to select the work of art that will be discussed. It should be a work that you are familiar with and know a good bit about. A work I often use for this purpose in my own museum is Juan Carreño de Miranda’s Portrait of King Charles II, ca. 1675.

  Juan Carreño de Miranda (1614-1685)
Portrait of King Charles II, c. 1675
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase Thanks to a Gift from Jo Ann Geurin Thetford in Honor of her Sons, Garrett and Wyatt Pettus. MM.2010.02
Meadows Museum

Begin by giving students time to examine the artwork in silence. It may seem like a long time, but give them about three minutes. After a minute or so they will most likely give you a questioning look, but direct your attention to the work of art and generally they will also.

Following looking time, if you think you might have difficulty getting students to talk about the work ask them to turn to someone close by and discuss something they noticed in the work, or something they have a question about. Give students about five to seven minutes to discuss with their partners, or wait until the discussion dies down and then invite the group to share what they were discussing about the work. This is a great ice breaker for warming up the group for discussion.

When students give observations about the work respond by paraphrasing what they have said back to the whole group - such as in the case of the Portrait of King Charles II, students often say, “I noticed a young girl dressed in black in an elaborate setting, and I want to know what she is holding in her hand.” A good response to this is “You noticed that there is a young girl who is wearing all black and standing in a richly decorated space, and you have a question about what she is holding in her hand.” Rather than offering an answer to the question this poses the question back out to the group. Also this type of response validates the student’s observations by not correcting about the gender of the individual in the painting. Generally, the group will begin to question whether the sitter is a boy or a girl, and will begin to notice other features about the person in the portrait.

Continue to allow for student responses, and make paraphrasing a habit in how you respond to their observations.  Paraphrasing is key to the process because it requires the facilitator to listen and process what an individual says. It validates the response and allows for clarification of what was said for the entire group.  

Avoid responding to students with phrases like, “That is a good observation!” or “I am so glad you noticed that.” Responses like these set up the idea that you are looking for a correct answer.  

When opening up the conversation about the work give a good bit of time to listening and paraphrasing before introducing content. When students begin to make observations that lead to an interpretation of the work of art, then you can begin to provide information that is relevant to the observation. For example, in relation to the Portrait of King Charles II, once they have established through their own observations that he is a person of importance, some often speculate that he may be a prince or a king. Once the idea is brought up by someone in the group it is fitting to introduce that he is in fact the last Spanish Hapsburg King and that the letter in his hand is a paper of authority and symbolizes his administrative duties.

Don’t feel like you have to tell them everything you know about the work. Only provide information that is relevant to the observations made by the group.

Allowing for an open discussion about a work of art as a group will result in rich and interesting ideas to explore with your students. Introducing class discussions of works of art will also help to spark ideas in your students’ own art making. 

-Scott Winterrowd, Curator of Education, Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University