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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42 October 2014 SchoolArts Continued from page 22. Continued on page 41. David Gran I n his book, Here Comes Every- one, Clay Shirky identifies three "rungs" on a ladder for online participation: sharing, coopera- tion, and collective action. Each of these rungs represents a new level of difficulty. Sharing is easy, and most of us do it already, either as a personal endeavor, such as making a post on Facebook, or in a professional manner, like shar- ing student work online. The sec- ond rung, coop- eration, requires a bit more work, but can result in the unique cre- ative solutions brought about by working col- laboratively. The third and final rung, collective action, is the hardest, because it requires careful orchestration to create a platform of collaboration that works towards a meaningful change. The Next Level of Crowd-sourcing Art Heroes (art-heroes.org) is an excellent example of this level of online participation, and one that can be easily integrated into an art curric- ulum that involves design. According to the site's creator, Kevin McMahon, "Art Heroes connects digital-media students who need to develop their portfolios for college and job apps with nonprofit causes that cannot afford industry rates for creative work." As a graphic design and video production teacher, McMahon began the site out of a recognition of two trends: First, his students were increas- ingly interested in pursuing digital media in their col- lege majors and careers. Second, he began getting requests from nonprofits with low or no budgets requesting student volunteers for creative design work. It became clear that students could make a differ- ence to worthy causes that could not afford professional designers, while simultaneously building meaning- ful portfolios that represented real- world experiences. "So the goal of Art Heroes is essentially a triple win," "Art Heroes connects digital- media students who need to develop their portfolios for college and job apps with nonprofit causes that cannot afford industry rates for creative work." says McMahon. "Nonprofits get high- quality creative work and save money, students develop their portfolios with real-world clients, and instructors can more easily engage their students' hearts and minds as they create for noble causes." Finding the Right Cause On the website you'll see a link on the main page for "jobs." Here, you and your students can search for a worthy cause for which to submit design work. This page features a list of nonprofits with contact informa- tion and descriptions of their work and their needs. There are also links for teachers and students, so you can enroll your whole class or introduce the site to students for them to peruse independently. Art Superheroes The site features a monthly Art Super- hero—a student who goes above and beyond with the work that they have done in connection with the site and their chosen nonprofit. "Winning this honor," McMahon describes, "can be due to a number of reasons, includ- ing creating truly exemplary artwork, hitting a tight deadline, taking on a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . @ R + Art Heroes 22 October 2014 SchoolArts large-scope job, or helping a large number of causes." The model of Art Heroes might sound familiar. There are other cor- porate sites that crowd-source design work and controversially reward up- and-coming artists with small gifts or "exposure," rather than paying profes- sional designers. However, Art Heroes is strictly for connecting small non- profit groups seeking to make a differ- ence in the world with students who want to help. As McMahon stated, this is a win-win. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twenty- first century art education. Carrotrevolu- tion.blogspot.com. dsgran@yahoo.com WRITE schoolartsmagazine.com/writersguidelines FOR US

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