SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 19 be given to people we didn't know. On the fourth week, art club students gathered their long-stem ceramic roses and made their way into social spaces to give them away. Students spoke of the joy they felt when giving roses to family, friends, and to students within our school who seemed socially iso - lated. Many spoke of new friendships t hat emerged through our interactions with many recipients being uplifted by the random act of kindness. As stu - dents shared their experiences, we dis- cussed what activity we could do next t o benefit our school community. Gift #2: Ceramic Animal Casts For our second activity, we chose to create ceramic casts from slip molds. Students mixed slip and carefully poured it into animal-shaped plaster molds. While the slip settled, we dis - cussed how we could freely distribute o ur art in ways that would make a last- ing impact in our school community. We researched artists who gave away their work in their community. Jill D'Agnenica, an artist working in Los Angeles, created thousands of plas - ter angels and hid them throughout t he city for passersby to find with the purpose of helping the city to heal after riots in the early 1990s. Fred Cray, an artist based in New York, hid photo - graphs he created involving unique s uperimposed images throughout the city. Dubbed the giveaway artist, his purpose of service-intervention was to "weave disruption and serendipity into the fabric of the city." Using the work of these artists as inspiration, we chose to hide our handmade items among the school grounds before lunch for stu - dents to find. Distributing Our Work Once the molds were fired and hand- painted, students prepared our works for hiding. We included a note of positive affirmation, letting the finder know how important they are in the world, and that they can choose to keep the item or gift it to someone else. Students found joy in hiding their works in trees, bushes, behind rocks, or simply laying items in open spaces such as sidewalks or grassy areas. When the bell rang for lunch, it didn't take long for students to begin finding our handmade objects. Unsus- pecting students quickly began to see h andmade roses, ceramic birds, and other objects. Art club students enjoyed seeing the positive reaction students showed when finding the artwork. Discussions emerged throughout the student body during the days that followed that told of prosocial developments. Students in the club were told by recipients how finding the object brightened their day while other students were seen regifting the found object to others. Our efforts had an immediate positive influence both on those who gave the gifts and those who received them. Making a Difference Art-making processes have the potential to benefit artists and their communities in many ways. What we did with our work truly made an impact in our school com - munity. While we may not know t he full effect of our giving, we can gauge how it made us feel. Students enjoyed the activity of giving, know - ing it had the potential to make s omeone's day better, and perhaps helped them make connections with people they may have never met. Dan Andrews is an art teacher at Vallivue High School in Caldwell, Idaho. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. W E B L I N K S www.jilldagnenica.com/Jill_Art/Wel- come.html f redcray.com Students enjo ed the activit of giving, knowing it had the potential to make someone's da better. For their first handmade gift, students sculpted roses from clay (previous page) and bisque-fired and painted them. The ceramic roses (below) were gifted to family, friends, and students who seemed socially isolated.

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