Monthly Mentor

Jaimee Taborda (February)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Jaimee serves as a Department Head, Mentor Coordinator, Adjunct Professor, and Secretary for the Massachusetts Arts Education Association. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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« Unpacking Whiteness | Main

February 14, 2020

Art World Connections

By Jaimee Taborda

Most students enter the art room with a limited view of what constitutes “good” art.  Many believe they are bad at art simply because they are not skilled at drawing realistically, even though if you go to any contemporary museum of art, you will find a small number of pieces with a focus on realism. When I first transitioned to Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB), I knew exposing students to a range of contemporary artists was going to be important to improve creativity and expand their understanding of art worlds. Opening their eyes to the possibilities held by artmaking can help young artists discover their place in the art community. 

Connect Days  Art Studio  2019-2020  - Google Slides

Over the past couple of years, I have become more intentional with how I select which artists to share. Considering Rudine Sims Bishop’s article, Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors, I need to analyze which artists are being highlighted in my curriculum and which ones are missing. Last year at the Choice Pre-Conference at NAEA, I attended Caitlin Chan’s session on Globalizing Choice Art. She talked about the necessity of paying close attention to whose voices are amplified in our curriculum. If I wish to be inclusive, I must be deliberate with keeping records about which artists I am choosing so I can audit my list for areas that I am neglecting. (Here you can find my ever-evolving list of artists.) Another key takeaway from this session was adopting Chan’s genius idea of printing stickers of the artwork for students. On Connect Days when we start our lesson with art history, I have been using 2” x 4” labels with the artist’s name, nationality, date of birth and questions for consideration along with an image of the artwork. It is my hope that this sticker is not only a fun thing for the students, but also serves as a visual reminder of our class discussions that have opened up dialogue about different cultures and divergent ways of thinking.

Connect day notes

As an educator in a school that serves 79% White students, my responsibility to open windows to the beautifully diverse world of art remains steadfast.  It is vitally important that my White students don’t grow up thinking that only people who look like them can be successful as artists.  My White students see “mirrors” everywhere they go: on television, in movies, in the books they read in ELA, and in the history curriculum. Choosing artists that function as “windows and sliding glass doors” can “help us to understand each other better by helping change our attitudes towards difference” as Sims Bishop posits.  Art is powerful and we as art educators have the power to choose whose voice is heard.  How are you choosing which artists to amplify?

My favorite resources for learning about artists:

Art 21, Tate, Whitney Biennial, KQED Arts- also visiting museums in person.

Here are the links to this year’s Connect Day slides:

Art Studio/AP, Art Intro, Ceramics



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