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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20 DECEMBER 2018 SchoolArts P O I N T O F V I E W I t's a Saturday morning and I'm work- ing with students in a local mall to c reate a mural. Today we'll be har- nessing our collaborative efforts with M ountainland Head Start (MHS), artist Scott Stanley, the Provo Towne Centre Mall management, and participation from the community. I see a conver - gence of forces this spring morning as t hese various elements come together for this event. I believe that true col- laboration is when all parties' interac- tions are mutually beneficial, and there i s communication flowing in all direc- tions among the various groups that c ontribute to the larger whole. The dynamic interplay between each of the members was key to the project's success, as was the inclusion of individuals of various ages who helped create the mural under the direction of our street artist. One of the missions of Artcetera, our student-run gallery space in the mall, is to facili - tate community engagement through t he arts beyond the exhibits on display. Reward in Collaboration The end product of this collaboration is a mural that is now located at the MHS Timpanogos Child Development Center in Orem, Utah. Everyone that was part of this collaboration benefit - ted. Cindy Jenkins, MHS community o utreach and volunteer coordinator, acknowledged, "We benefit from this collaboration because our children, families, and staff are reminded daily about how our community supports the work we do to help empower chil - dren and families to succeed." The Provo Towne Center Mall benefited from increased traffic. We advertised this as an event for all ages and many families stopped by to have some fun with their children while contributing to the image. My students and the children who passed through benefited from hands-on learning in a workshop-like environment with Scott Stanley, who shared his philosophies about art, prag - matic uses of materials, and outdoor s paces. The collaboration brought the mural to life in a way that could not have been achieved via a single artist. Energy and Vision As the mural gradually took shape, it was wonderful to feel the energy and see students interacting with parents and working alongside young chil- dren. I find a lot of value in having students learn from the holistic vision of an artist like Stanley. It creates an opportunity for them to consider such things as media logistics, identifying your audience, and how your work can enrich, elevate, and educate. Visibility I love the visibility these types of col- laborations give the arts in general and Provo High School's art program in particular. Visibility, both in the end product and in the process, is a wonderful advocacy tool for the arts and arts education. Engaging Constraints I also like the constraints set by a mural project of this nature. This particular mural was created using graffiti markers on a vinyl sheet that we laid out on the floor. Stanley front- loaded the activity by having students find and bring imagery for the mural and encouraging them to incorporate their own imagery, while also react- ing to the creative contributions of the other participants. Artcetera has been an ongoing col- laborative venture that gives students t he opportunity to fully embrace the National Standard Presenting, and the mall has explored new ways to use commercial space to engage the public. The Creative Experience A t the end of this collaborative expe- rience, Stanley summed up the value of doing collaborative art projects: "All these unique and interesting things bring to light the fun; not because you are laughing all the way home, but because you are learning, communicating, and creating com- panionship by understanding some- one else and by sharing." I w ant my students to understand the complexities of the creative expe- rience and to fully embrace the pos- sibilities within their communities through the arts. James Rees is an art teacher at Provo High School in Provo, Utah, and a con - tributing editor for SchoolArts. james@ jamesreesart.com Collaboration Benefits Ever one Visibilit , both in the end product and in the process, is a wonderful advocac ool for the arts and arts education. James Rees

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