SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

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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34 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts W hat materials are you plan- ning to use? What com- position are you creating? What ideas are you trying to reveal? How will the viewer inter- pret your art? Is symbolism used in your work? How does this represent your individual point of view? These are just a few of the many questions we ask students to answer before starting a work of art. Some days, I feel more like an art counselor than an art teacher! I think all teachers would agree the ultimate goal of any art project, aside from refining technique, is to encour- age students to cultivate a unique voice that challenges the viewer. How do you help students foster this mind-set? What tools do they need to become master art idea builders? If you want students to see the importance in their ideas and the interpretive value it adds to the viewers' experience, you must help them prepare and value the process. I approach this by setting guidelines and expectations at the beginning of a project. Themes Any great project starts with an interesting point of departure. Allow assignments to be open-ended but focused on a particular concept. If concepts are not well-defined, you might find that students flounder and do not get started easily. Themes such as social issues, current trends, family heritage, symbolic objects, and time eras allow students to find a unique voice within an overarch - ing topic. When you allow students to explore visual diversity, their final product is more likely to be open to unique interpretation. Research Make sure your students are researching artists that communi - cate ideas. How do they tell stories through their imagery? Ask your students to interpret the images they see. What feelings, events, or thoughts are conjured by looking at the work? What type of storytelling and visual communication is cre - ated by a variety of media, palettes, images, and styles? Encourage stu - dents to create online portfolios or use archiving sites to save their work to virtual catalogs for easy reference. Idea Generation Thumbnails are a great way to gen- erate multiple ideas. Ask students to create two to three drawings that explore a variety of themes. This gives the instructor the oppor - tunity to request revisions, ask important questions, and explore combining ideas. Students' ideas are only as good as their original plans. The most well-developed ideas come from exploration and not from being told what to do. Encourage digging into concepts and pushing past the obvious. Revision and Review Once a student's work is complete, it is not done! You are at the stage with your students when you have a great opportunity to allow peer review, critique, and revision. One of my favorite ways to approach this is with a critique document. Stu - dents can create a mock gallery walk where they place their work around the room and students visit their work and leave critical feedback, with glows and grows, and personal interpretations. This allows the artists to see if their idea or theme came across to the viewer. Did it communicate the idea that they originally developed, or did others see it in another way? If multiple students interpret it in a different but similar way, your stu - dent may consider adapting the nar- rative a bit, or maybe they will need to revise the work as a whole to help communicate the idea. Students have a unique point of view and can create dynamic works H I G H S C H O O L INNOVATION & Nicole D. Brisco INTERPRETATION Themes such as social issues, current trends, famil heritage, s mbolic objects, and time eras allow students to find a unique voice within an overarching topic. Exploring environmental spaces and how the figure reacts.

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