SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 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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assessment The Makeshift Gallery Sam Thomas I similar experience for my students hate sketchbooks. I know, this is without expecting them to commit to a cardinal sin for an art teacher. a process that I myself couldn't mainAs a young artist, I was given tain. sketchbooks from time to time and they always seemed to end up on a the Passerby museum bookshelf somewhere gathering dust. My solution for this need grew out of I managed to subconsciously distance a conversation I had with a colleague myself from these stacks upon stacks about an interactive art exhibition of intimidating blank white pages. called the Passerby Museum. This The formality of a sketchbook is offproject was created in 2002 by María putting to me. AlósandNicolásDumitEstévezand That said, I've seen so many fanwas originally installed in New York tastic art teachers engaging their stuCity. The exhibidents in sketchbook activities that often I was excited to have this tion encouraged anyone who passed result in portfolioexperience serve as a by to contribute an worthy artwork. catalyst for conversations item from his or In the past, I've about the nature of art her pocket to the tried integrating installation. The sketchbooks into my and material culture. only requirement classroom, but I find was that the object be able to fit into a it extremely difficult to get excited plastic sandwich bag. about them since my own art-making The idea of the Passerby Museum process completely omits them. was to investigate commonalities What I value about the idea of a among the material possessions of sketchbook is the spontaneity with contributors, and to engage groups of which ideas can be quickly docupeople who wouldn't otherwise visit mented and the presence of a space art museums to participate in converwhere sources of inspiration can sations about art and material culture. be collected. I wanted to provide a The format for the Passerby Museum satisfied everything I wanted from the sketchbook experience: a space for the collection of spontaneous ideas and sources of inspiration. the makeshift Gallery In my classroom, I have a blank wall (about seven feet long) that runs adjacent to the entrance. What better place than this to stage my own interactive gallery space? A box of resealable sandwich bags, some labels, a stapler, and about a half hour later, I had my very own interactive gallery space, which I called the Makeshift Gallery. Each student was provided with a bag (labeled with his or her name and stapled to the wall) and given the following guidelines: • TheMakeshiftGalleryisanopportunity to share ideas, sources of inspiration, and things you find interesting or worthy of consideration. • Whateveryouplaceinyourbag must be school appropriate. • DisplayswillbegradedeveryFriday to see if you've changed what is on display. Continued on page 43. 12 November 2013 SchoolArts

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