Monthly Mentor

Patricia Leavy (November)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Patricia Leavy, PhD is an independent scholar and bestselling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chair of Sociology & Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. She has published over twenty-five books, earning commercial and critical success in both nonfiction and fiction, and her work has been translated into numerous languages. She is internationally recognized as a leader in arts-based research and research methodology. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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April 02, 2018

Artist Trading Card Swap

From: Nichole Hahn

Art connects and unites! As Art Educators we know this. We know that you don’t need to speak the same language to communicate when using the Arts. This idea of connecting people through Art was the spark of MiniMatisse Global Artist Trading Card Swap. This year we completed our 3rd Annual swap and will be announcing our 4th swap on in August of 2018.

Many years ago I started experimenting with the idea of trading Art online. I used different online platforms such as Seesaw, Artsonia, and Creatubbles. These platforms work nicely for many purposes, but I found the kids weren’t as connected as I had hoped by sharing Art online. I then started to work with some schools in which I had connections to. My class traded large format Art to Japan in 2009 and then to Australia in 2010. These were incredible experiences, but they were physically too large to continue trading. Plus, the students had a hard time sharing a work of art that took them several hours to complete, understandably.

I read an Article in School Art Magazine about 5 years ago talking about Artist Trading Cards. These cards are 2 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches. They are the same size as a baseball card. This was a perfect solution to my needs. We would create small works of Art and trade them with other classes.


After many years of ‘practice’ I have created a good solution for classrooms to trade Art with one another. In August, participants sign up to participate in the swap. They then have until February 1st to send the cards to my classroom. The cards are packed in groups of 10 and wrapped in a sleeve that explains a little about the process or the location the cards are coming from. There is also information about the teacher like emails, and social media tags so teachers can connect after the trade. If a school sends me 100 cards, they will get 10 groups of 10 cards sent back to them from 10 different locations.


Once the cards have made it to their final destination, teachers celebrate online sharing where the cards have ended up. There might be a post on instagram stating that cards from Italy have made it to Texas. The teachers are able to connect online as well as sharing lesson plan ideas physically. The best part is, every student who gets a card, receives a card back from another student. We have students of all ages, all ability levels, from both public schools and private programs. They come from all over the United States and we have had participants from Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Jordan, Italy and more. In 2018 we had over 100 schools participate and over 14,500 Artist Trading Cards be exchanged.


Once the cards are in the new owners hands, classrooms discuss about the art, they create art inspired by the cards, they display and identify the areas that the cards come from. This is exciting for all involved and it connects people through Art.

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How can you use this idea? First check out MiniMatisse or our hashtag #ATCswap on Twitter and Instagram for some amazing lesson plan ideas. You can have students create art within the classroom and swap amongst classrooms. I have invited parents to create a card that they will trade with their student. I have seen schools trade art amongst their district schools. Making connections on social media is a great way to set up a swap. Or, you can sign up to participate in the 2019 Artist Trading Cards swap on in August. Connecting through Art is POWERFUL!



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