From: Frank Juarez
This week I will be sharing with you three programs that I have implemented into my art curriculum at Sheboygan North High School. These programs have broadened my students’ perspective on contemporary art at the local, regional, and national level. The third and last program is called 2nd Floor Gallery, which was started in 2013.
For that past few years I have observed that there were quite a few teachers at Sheboygan North High that were incorporating art into their curriculum and that most if not all of the student works would be displayed inside the classroom or directly outside of the classroom above the lockers. I also observed an under utilized hall way with so much potential. This hallway has about 12 feet floor, about 50 feet of wall space, natural lighting, and a high ceiling - a perfect place for an art gallery.
I set an appointment with my principal for a ‘what if’ we made a professional looking space to showcase the artistic talents of our North High students. In addition, stating that there would be some costs for a gallery hanging system. The cost was not too expensive, however, the concern Mr. Bull had was would teachers use the space. Having a gallery background, working with artists, and seeking exhibition ideas I knew I could get my colleagues involved. After all we have one thing in common – our students.
My colleagues and artists in residence have utilized the gallery space. It has brought such a positive vibe to our school. The amazing thing is that those that walk the halls of North High respect the work. Student often take a break from the daily hustle of being in school and admire the artwork. There are a couple of benches where student can sit and ponder. An awesome sight to see.
On the flip side to running this gallery, finding new teachers to take advantage of this wonderful space we call the 2nd Floor Gallery can be a challenge. Exhibitions can range from 2-weeks to a month. Not all work is exhibition ready so the art department has to figure out the best way to install and present the work.
What I enjoy about the Artist in Residence Program and the 2nd Floor Gallery is that the art department is at the core of these two programs. We are here to work with one another and to provide unique experiences for our students.
To date we have had 18 exhibitions showcasing student artwork from World Languages, Social Studies, Broadcasting, Art, and artist in residence’s work produced here.