SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2010

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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Looking & Learning Compassion Pull-out Resource Krzystof Wodiczko, Tijuana Projection, 2001. Public video projection at the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico. Organized as part of the event InSight 2000. © Krzystof Wodcizko. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. Compassion is a feeling born out of a deep awareness of the misfortune of others, usually accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate suffering. Feeling someone else's misfortune deeply and wanting to make things better for them is called compassion. Although the word reminds us of difficult things, actions like creating art prompted by compassion can be constructive and positive. Compassion allows us to imagine what it is like to be in another person's place. Ask your students if they have ever witnessed a news event or an advertisement that makes them want to help animals, other people, or the environment. Ask them if they have felt compassion for a friend or family member going through a tough time or someone being bullied. Artists are sometimes drawn to creating art that brings the public's attention to situations that are oppressive for others. They give viewers an opportunity to become aware of what's happening and develop empathy for those involved. In considering the work of such artists, we may ask ourselves important questions like, "Who or what is involved in this situation?" "What conditions are at play?" "What might the subjects be feeling?" "What can be done to make things better?" Thinking about the answers to these questions can lead to rich discussion and help students become more compassionate in their own work.

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