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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« If you do not promote your art program, who will? | Main | The Power of Advocacy »

February 18, 2016

Why should you document student work?

From: Frank Juarez

This week I will be sharing some ideas on how to promote what you are doing inside the art room. These tips have made a difference in my art program at Sheboygan North High School.

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When I first started to document student work 16 years ago I had a point-n-shoot camera and then I graduated to a DSLR. I was getting some amazing shots of students working on their artwork ranging from 2-D to 3-D. No matter when I whipped out the camera I would tell students that I am going to take photos of their hands in action while making their art and not their faces. I always gave them a heads up. What I found interesting is when I approach a student to set up my shot he/she would stop working. I would immediately say to keep creating. I will work around them. I like students’ hands to be in motion as I try to capture that perfect shot. To me if feels ‘real’.

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Today, I have replaced my DSLR with my smartphone. What I like about this is being able to take multiple shots, reviewing, and editing them right on the spot. What is even better is syncing my smartphone to my laptop so that when I have a WIFI signal my photos will automatically transfer to my laptop. If you are wondering about the quality of the photos they are of great quality. However, the camera is just a vehicle used to capture a shot. It takes skill and experience to be able to take great photos. Practice does make perfect!

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I would suggest becoming selective as to which photos you use for promoting your students’ work and art program. You want to always put your best foot forward. Let the photo tell the story. The photos I take are found on my Instragram account in the form of a collection, #nhsartdeptsheboygan, on my classroom blog, on facebook, and even when I submit to articles. By the way, they make fab photos for brochures, flyers, and letters.

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In my last post for this week, I will share some thoughts on ‘advocacy’ and how promotion and documentation can make a world of difference to get the word out about the world you are passionate about – the art education world.

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Web Resources:
North High Art Department: nhsartdept.com
Instagram: #nhsartdeptsheboygan

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