Monthly Mentor

Matthew Neylon (July)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Matthew is a graduate of the 2017 NAEA School for Art Leaders and cofounder of CONNECT, an organization that connects art teachers from independent schools around Atlanta with resources and relationships to excel and thrive. He has presented to hundreds of educators and artists annually, on various topics including wellness through the arts, trauma-informed arts education, storytelling, leadership, STEAM/art integration, and curriculum design. Click "GO" to read his full bio.



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May 22, 2019

The Story Behind the Sheboygan North’s Artist-in-Residency Program

By Frank Juarez

IMG_20190507_101338220Poetry students working with artist-in-residence, Craig Grabhorn

In the Fall of 2014, the Sheboygan North High Art Department launched its artist-in-residency program. Earlier that year two of my students wanted to create a splatter paint fashion show. As the models walked down the runway in white clothing, they were splattered with paint resulting in one-of-a-kind clothing. One they reach the end of the runway they posed confidently and walked back. When my students mentioned their idea, I knew exactly what to do to make this experience meaningful. I invited Project Runway Season 12 fashion designer, Miranda Kay Levy to view and provide constructive criticism to the students afterwards. Talk about excitement!

We invited students, staff, and administration to attend the event. I introduce Miranda to my former principal, Mr. Bull. He wanted to know Miranda’s story in the fashion world. One of the things that caught his attention was the artist-in-residency program she was participating in at Bay View High School in Milwaukee. Turns out my former principal taught Math there. He liked what he heard and how that program provided students more authentic opportunities and experiences.

The following day Mr. Bull approached me with the idea of ‘what if’ we started an artist-in-resident at Sheboygan North High. Without hesitation, I said yes. I knew the person in charge of this program at Bay View. We spoke on the phone and I listed what his program offered and what we can do at my school to fit our needs. One of the things I wanted to address, first and foremost, is paying the artists an honorarium. Mr. Bull and I met with our district’s secondary education coordinator, pitched this idea and how much it would cost to run. He liked what he heard. We were granted funding for our first year.

I knew that I wanted this program to become interdisciplinary. My vision was to bring artists who value education, love working with students, and were open to brainstorm on creative ideas with our staff and students to enhance their learning. I was able to secure a designated classroom as the artist’s studio. Afterall, one of the things artists need to create their work is space.

The goals of the Sheboygan North High Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program are to expand the experience of each student in the field of the arts, foster creativity, enrich education in any given subject, and to present staff members with new ideas and options for instruction.

At the end of the artist’s residency we organize a solo exhibition at our NHS ARTifacts Gallery. During the reception, the artist is encouraged to speak about his/her work and have a Q & A with the audience. One of the neatest things I experience since its beginning was listening to my colleague’s poetry club. Her students wrote response pieces based on works of art, which they read to the audience. This was a prime example of how art enriches our lives.

The biggest obstacle thus far has been implementing this program into other classrooms. We do have our regulars that take advantage of such a great opportunity. Our students learn more about how they see the world through their own art. We are grateful to have been funded by a grant from the Sheboygan Area School District, Wisconsin Art Education Association, and the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

We have reached a milestone in our program. To date we have hosted 10 artists from the local art community. Each brought something special to our staff and students. They worked with teachers from World Language, Social Studies, Culinary Art, English, Humanities, Art, and Science.

We continue to seek more funding to sustain our program. However, that will be tomorrow’s worry. For now, we celebrate the impact it has brought to our school’s culture this school year.

FullSizeR_02Artist-in-residence, Craig Grabhorn, talking about his work to Social Studies students.

IMG_20190321_113658435Student working on his Work Projects Administration (WPA) poster

IMG_20190319_111527357Detail of Work Projects Administration (WPA) posters

611DA77D-861B-4E56-BF91-B95CD9A561E6Artist-in-residence, Craig Grabhorn

IMG_6328Inside the artist-in-residence studio with Craig Grabhorn

IMG_6327Inside the artist-in-residence studio with Craig Grabhorn

IMG_6326Inside the artist-in-residence studio with Craig Grabhorn

To learn about Sheboygan North High’s Artist-in-residence click here.



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