SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2008

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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Page 24 of 63

Middle School Studio Lesson The ComiC Book ProjeCT Michael Bitz T he Comic Book Project (CBP) celebrates its eighth anniversary this year. Who would have thought that an idea originating with one school in New York City would grow to encompass thousands of students nationwide? It is resilient, dedicated educators who are responsible for the development of this simple concept: Engage students in writing, designing, and publishing original comic books. These educators range from avid comics fans to those who never imagined themselves thinking about superheroes and vil- lains. But in the end, one thing has driven these teachers and their students—the unbridled power of creativity. A Forum for Self-Expression It is worth exploring how creativity has impacted the ability of students without developed art skills to participate in an art-oriented project. The goal of CBP is not to create comics the "Marvel way" or to develop the next Stan Lee. Rather, the goal is to give students the opportunity to design original characters, develop interesting storylines, and publish and present their work in their schools and communities. Moreover, CBP establishes a forum for selfexpression and cultural exploration. Thinking Creatively Because we want to embrace all students, not just those with extensive art experience and instruction, CBP begins with simple lines and shapes. Teachers ask students: "What is the strangest thing you can create from a triangle?" By using the word "strange," teachers promote creative 23

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