SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2013

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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Elementary Studio Lesson The Sound of art Denise Clyne Ruch T he opportunity for my students to combine contemporary art, community involvement, and group work recently presented itself when artist Nick Cave spent a year as the artist in residence at the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Cave is renowned for his dazzling, wearable, mixed-media sculptures that make sounds unique to each costume as costume-wearers move, dance, and jump in performance. Loose Parts Theory For this project, I embraced the "theory of loose parts" posited by Simon Nicholson in his article, "How 22 March 2013 SchoolArts suits. We invited students to make individual sound-makers, which would later be attached to a wearable suit. Students had access to a wide variety of objects of the type that tend to accumulate in an artroom. They enjoyed complete freedom as they created with a myriad of items including beads, bands, cups, and lids from laundry detergent bottles. The limited availability of certain items, the difficulties encountered, and the safe atmosphere of the artroom encouraged teamwork, negotiation, conflict resolution, communication, and problemsolving. Soundsuits The second part of the project NOT to cheat Children: the Theory involved group work. I purchased of Loose Parts," published in Landfive cleanroom white suits (one for scape Architecture in 1971. According each class) online from an industrial to Nicholson, "In any environment, supply store. I both the degree cut each suit in of inventiveness The limited availability of and creativity, certain items, the difficulties half—front and back—and once and the possibilencountered, and the safe again embraced ity of discovery, atmosphere of the artroom the loose parts are directly proencouraged teamwork. philosophy. portional to the I divided the number and kind class into two groups set up on differof variables in it." He believed that "loose parts" enable student creativity. ent sides of the room, one for the front of the suit and one for the back of the suit. At first, each group was only Sound-Makers given one color of paint and brushes. My student intern, David Pinon, and I As the class progressed, I set out began the project by showing and discussing online videos of Cave's Sound- more paint, spiky rubber balls, foam

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