Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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February 01, 2016

Living in the Digital Age

From: Frank Juarez 
Sheboygan North High Art Department Chair
fjuarez@sasd.net

In the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year like many art teachers we think about ways to engage students in art production and documentation. I teach high school art and what I have noticed is that many of my students are on social media. I find them taking photos of their work and sharing it with friends and family. They are very selective as to what they share online. You can see a sense of pride. I began to think how could I take advantage of this in order to showcase what we are doing inside the art classroom, have them contribute to the success of our art program, and continue to share it with world?

As I was walking around the classroom and taking photos of them working on their art projects I had that ‘a-ha’ moment. Why not create a platform so that we can all contribute? I started a collection on Instagram using the hashtag #nhsartdeptsheboygan. To date we have over 200+ posts highlighting student work, works in progress, critiques, artist in residence program, artist lecture series, video, Skype session with artists from across the country, and so much more.

Juarez_Instagram

Taking advantage of social media as another way to promote the art department has been instrumental in not only sharing their artistic talents, but also as a way to expose new students coming to Sheboygan North High School to the variety of art that we engage in. Today, my smartphone has replaced my DSLR. I love the immediacy of sharing the photos as I capture the beauty that is being created inside my art classroom.

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