Jennifer Childress (April)
Jennifer Childress is currently self-employed as a curriculum and assessment consultant in art education. She is former Associate Professor and Program Head of Art Education at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, from 1998-2016. Recent projects have included in-school, after-school, and summer art programs for urban youth in the Albany area, funded by professional development and service learning grants; and run by her students.Ongoing interests have included performance assessment of higher order cognition and creativity; mitigation/mediation of poverty’s effects on learning; planning for specific cognitive skills development during art learning, making, and reflection; and near/far transfer of learning through interdisciplinary thinking and connection-making. Childress was named the 2016-17 New York State Art Educator of the Year in June 2016. Click "Go" to read full bio.
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From: Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT
My intro STEAM-based freshman students just completed their collaborative Louise Nevelson inspired Recycled Mural. From the very beginning, our kids were having fun considering what daily recyclable products they could use in their box to create a strong composition. This lesson is great in that each student has the ability to consider shape, line, balance, and variety and how their piece will ultimately work within the whole mural where 48 boxes will become one large composition! Students chose to paint the piece gold and the final work(s) are truly incredible! Their responses were wonderful too in that they not only created a piece of art for our YAM celebrations, they also thought about the importance of recycling and their abundant use of plastic that is killing our earth. Overall, this is a YAM event that I highly recommend as it brings art to the forefront of social learning – the epitome of our #artwithpurpose learning!
And while that was going on, my Art II students were working hard on their Memory Project works. This year we “art-dopted” 40 children from Bolivia and honored their identity through portraiture. Students enjoyed drawing or painting these beautiful children and later this week I will be packing these images up to send back to the children! This is always one of my students favorite projects because it’s when they really begin to understand that when art becomes more than just a head and hands project, i.e., their heARTs begin to play a big part, their work goes to the next level! All 40 portraits are beautiful, creatively, technically correct, and full of love! I am always proud of my students, but this YAM event take us all to another level of teaching and learning!
For more info on the Memory Project, check out their website: www.memoryproject.org.
View a video for the Memory Project that my kids and I just made: The Memory Project - NGHS
Up next...the FUN Club concert, our county's Tapestry Art Exhibit images, and our 10th annual Relay for Life ART Auction!
From: Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT
YAM – It’s beyond fun at this moment and my students are participating in some seriously amazing events including our county Tapestry exhibit which houses the art work of our top art students K-12! Gwinnett County (the largest county in the state) has close to 180,000 students so you can imagine how massive this 3 week exhibit is. There are 3 different series with 6-7 school clusters invited to each series throughout the month. Due to the convention, this is our week and our school has over 300 works exhibited – WOWza!
Once again, I was reminiscing of days gone by and began thinking of another great year we had in 1999 when Tricia Spencer and I were state YAM co-chairs and our state theme was “Tool Time in Georgia”. At our fall conference we held a fun hands-on YAM JAM workshop where we started building a collaborative mascot that would travel the state and metamorphasize as students of all ages added their marks! This sculpture, aptly named “Arturo the Traveling YAM mascot” left us in February at the state Capitol Art Exhibit where he was unveiled and moved to 16 schools across Georgia! He traveled with a camera, a journal, and a blanket and when he returned to us he barely fit in a convertible car and had a 10 foot wing span! Talk about a powerful YAM event! The journal documented all of the schools he visited and the thousands of students who had the ability to work on him. And that is what I believe Youth Art Month should be about…students working together in the name of art and using the process and the product as an advocacy tool to share with the community, the state, the region and the nation the necessity of a visual art education for ALL LEARNERS! (and by the way, Arturo was then bought by a local folk art gallery where he still resides!)
And now back to my 185 secondary art students and their YAM creations here at North Gwinnett…up next, GREAT YAM activities that my students are currently working on!
View our YAM 2017 works.
From: Debi West
Our Youth Art Month activities are underway here at North Gwinnett High School! We’ve been busy creating art, and my National Art Honor Society students have been extra busy planning our YAM community exhibit where we are working with the F.U.N Club (a non-profit that works with special needs adults to give them community opportunities) and promoting a concert complete with an art auction!
As I’m working with my students this year, I can’t help but reminisce over past YAM activities I’ve done and how I got so involved with this wonderful event. After my first year of figuring out what this event was all about, I realized it could be as big or small as the teacher wants it to be. For example, my first year I created a large YAM box that my students could walk through to experience the different textures of art! The following year I held a large exhibit showcasing every student’s art (over 1000!) and invited the community to come and enjoy the show. By my 4th year I was so excited about YAM and how it was such a powerful advocacy tool that I was asked by my state association to come on board as the state YAM chair, a job that eventually propelled me into leadership opportunities I could never have imagined. In addition to planning my school YAM activities, I was now charged with planning a state theme, state activities and a YAM booth at our state conference…and I was ready for the challenge!
Our theme for the 1996-1997 school year was “Art Makes the World Go Round” which was the Council for Art Education’s national theme. I hosted a YAM booth at our conference that year in Macon sharing with members how they could join in the state fun and make a “deliciously successful YAM sandwich” complete with a brown bag lunch bag full of supplies including proclamation and endorsement sheets for their legislators, administrators, mayors and community VIPS to fill out, an idea sheet for fun and easy activities, bumper stickers to proclaim loudly YAM in Georgia and water bottles with our student created logo printed proudly on the front. It was a HUGE success and in April, as I started to collect info from teachers from across the state, I was amazed at the activities that had transpired! From our state Capitol Art Exhibit (which is our annual YAM kick-off event in mid-February), to finding our state YAM artist and educator, to local art shows, art exchanges, student/parent art nights, we even had the Governor sign our official state YAM proclamation! I hired a newspaper clipping company and the articles came pouring in. As the state YAM chair I had the task of compiling all of this wonderful information and putting it into our state scrapbook for judging and imagine my excitement when we found out that we were the National Winners! Our Georgia art teachers didn’t disappoint and their submissions took our scrapbook to the next level with pictures, articles, activities and data that proved that Youth Art Month works to advocate and propel the importance of a visual art education for every child! I was asked to attend the NAEA convention that next spring to present on “How to Get In-Kind Funding for your State YAM Programs” and my life was forever changed. That was the year that the NAEA became a huge part of my life! That was the year that I met some of the most amazing art educators that have become dear friends for life – that was the year that my teaching went to the next level!
I had YAM in my soul and it fuels me to this day – Art at its’ BEST!
From: Debi West
YOUTH ART MONTH! Our National Celebration of Art Education…how cool is that!! I’m thinking it’s time to get our YAM JAM’s up and running and start planning some super fun and super important activities to generate excitement for this event! But first of all, let’s discuss what YAM is…exactly. I remember when I started teaching…way back when…a friend and colleague contacted me and asked me what I was planning on doing for YAM that year. I literally had NO idea what she was talking about so she filled me in a bit and the next thing I know I was using YAM to advocate for my program and began creating local events that brought the community and my student’s art together.
* The Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) created Children’s Art Month in 1961 as an event to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education.
* In 1969 the celebration expanded to include secondary school students, and the Children’s Art Month event officially became known as Youth Art Month.
* In 1984, ACMI created the non-profit organization The Council for Art Education (CFAE) to advocate for visual art education. CFAE coordinates the Youth Art Month program at the national level.
While Youth Art Month typically occurs in March, local and state events celebrating visual art education take place on almost a year round basis! Events and fundraisers take place in schools, libraries, art centers, museums, and even state capitol buildings.
Youth Art Month Benefits
Youth Art Month exists to:
1. Recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curriculum that develops citizens of a global society.Recognize art is a necessity for the full development of better quality of life for all.
2. Direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking.
3. Expand art programs in schools and stimulate new art programs.
4. Encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere.
5. Provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning.
6. Increase community, business and governmental support for art education.
7. Increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures.
8. Reflect and demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education at all levels.
Visit the Council for Art Education's website for more information.
Now that you all know a little bit about the history of YAM, it’s time to consider some fun Youth Art Month activities to do with your students! I’d love to hear from you and see what your plans are! Stay tuned as I tell you about some of our current activities and some of our past state activities that were super successful!