Monthly Mentor

Shanna Dunlap (April)
Hi, my name is Shanna Dunlap and I am a senior at Southern High School in Harwood, Maryland. I am a photographer who specializes in people, mainly childrens portraits. I started with photography when I was in sixth grade and haven’t stopped since. I plan on going to college for art and majoring in photography. It’s my passion. I have a GPA of 4.06 and I’m ranked 23 out of 250 in my state. I also dance for Southern High School’s Repertory dance company and have been a part of many companies my whole life. I have accomplished many things through art including many Scholastic Art awards, auctioning off work, and as this year’s 2015 NAEA National Rising Star Award Recipient. I hope you enjoy reading my blog for the month of April!

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« It’s Youth Art Month! | Main | Visual Culture - Part 2 »

March 04, 2013

Visual Culture

The second path I want to journey down is my passion for Visual Culture and how that ties into our classrooms.

Let’s kick off with a little about my passion for Visual Culture. It was probably always lurking in the background, but it came to light with beginning to pin down a topic for my MA thesis at the University of Northern Iowa in 2008. Christopher Schulte* was there pushing me to dig deep into what drove me, to find a passion for a topic. I shared a story with him about a recent article I had read titled “50 Works of Art You Should See Before You Die” and a television commercial I had seen while watching football with my family of boys. The middle of the commercial for Sprint® featuring Peyton Manning (then quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts) flashed a few second likeness to M. C. Escher’s “Relativity.” I immediately caught the likeness, but no one else did. With the wonders of DVR, I backed the commercial up and asked my three boys (husband and two sons, ages 14 and 8 at the time) if they recognized any likeness of a work of art in the commercial. They didn’t. I grabbed the laptop and pulled up Escher’s work and they could then recognize the likeness. (Go ahead, search youtube for the “Manning’s Mind” commercial. You know you want to.)

This made me wonder if I was teaching my students to recognize the subtleties in today’s world where famous works of art were being infused all around us. The moment clicked. I had found my passion … Visual Culture.

*Now Dr. Christopher Schulte is an Assistant Professor at Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia after receiving his doctorate at Penn State University. Dr. Schulte is also a 2013 Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education Runner-Up.

—Ronda Sternhagen   

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