SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2014

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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Beginner Ask students to close their eyes and envision themselves in a fantastic or unusual place that cannot be visited in the real world. Ask, "What colors do you see in your fantastic place? What kinds of animals or creatures live there?" After students share their responses, explain that when we envision something, we create pictures in our minds. Explain that many artists begin their work by creating a picture or vision of what they would like to make in their minds before drawing, painting, or sculpting it. Next, introduce students to the Saint Francis Road Mural and Greenheads. Ask, "What is hap- pening in this artwork? What events did each artist imagine taking place?" Intermediate Introduce the word "envisioning" to students as they enter the room. Ask each student to record his or her own definition of the term in a sketch- book, then share the results with their table or in a small discussion group. Ask, "How do you think the term 'envisioning' relates to art?" "What sort of things would an artist envision? Give examples based on artists you have previ- ously studied." After some discussion, expand the conversation to include the works of Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán and Laylah Ali. Advanced In their sketchbooks, journals, or as a blog post, ask students to explain where and how envision- ing fits into their artistic process. Ask them to compare their process with one or two other artists with a different approach. Explain that envisioning happens in different ways for differ- ent artists and is not a part of every process. Ask students to share a few examples of artists that they think use envisioning in their processes, and several who do not. In a class discussion, have student share their responses and examples. Next, present the Saint Francis Road Mural and Greenheads to the class. Discuss and ana- lyze each, paying special attention to the artistic visions displayed in each artwork. Explore Create Beginner Ask students to create a picture in their minds that fits one or more of the following criteria: (1) The perfect place; (2) A creature that has never been seen before; (3) A place where everything is upside-down; (4) A different planet. Adjust the choices to best fit your students and classroom environment. After students have spent a few minutes envisioning their scene, explain that they will transfer the image from their mind to a piece of paper by drawing it. Provide large sheets of paper and encourage students to draw large to fill the entire paper with their scene. When the drawings are complete, have students present them to the class or in small groups. Students should try to guess each other's "visions." Be sure to share the drawings, accompa- nied by a written or recorded statement from each student explaining his or her vision. Intermediate Ask students to create a list of things that might be found in their perfect world in their journal or sketchbook. Explain that this list does not have to be based in reality and that they can include fantas- tic, surreal, or unusual elements—anything they'd like, as long as it is "school appropriate." Once the lists are complete, explain that they will use them to complete a project called "Envisioning a Perfect World." Each student will create a medium-to-large-scale drawing, painting, collage, or sculpture that depicts his or her vision. Encourage them to include a narrative in their compositions in which some kind of event is taking place. As students work, take occasional breaks for reflection and dis- cussion. Have each student present his or her perfect world to the class as an advertisement for a travel destination via digital video or Power- Point presentation. Be sure to share the completed advertisements on your school website or blog, and, if possible, on a display screen in the school building. Advanced Explain that envisioning is an ongoing process for most artists, and that that their visions for their work and of themselves as artists will grow and transform over time, sometimes in radically different ways. Ask each student to create two artworks that depict their artis- tic vision: one now, and the other at the end of the school year. Each piece should represent their current artistic style and include imagery and material choices that reflect their vision of what their art can and should be. Explain that each piece is intended to be an accurate reflection of where they are now as artists, so they should not worry too much about "perfecting" each piece. At the end of the year, these artworks will be used for self-evalu- ation and an assessment of personal growth and progress. Students should respond to questions such as: "How has your artistic style evolved and changed since the first piece was completed?" "How have your priorities as an artist changed?" "What are your artistic goals? Have they changed since the first piece was completed? If so, in what ways?" If possible, create a physical or virtual exhibit in which both pieces are displayed together, accompanied by a short statement from the artist about his or her growth. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. Looking & Learning Envisioning Resources Artes Guadalupanos de Aztlán: www.scholarsre- source.com/browse/artist/2142574827 Laylah Ali: www.pbs.org/art21/artists/la lah-ali museum.cornell.edu/exhibitions/la lah-ali-the-green- heads-series.html 26 October 2014 SchoolArts

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