SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 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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Page 30 of 54

Beginner/Intermediate Ask students to think of a time when they became frustrated while learning about some- thing in school, trying to master a new athletic skill, or playing a game. Ask, "Were you able to overcome your frustration? How did you even- tually work through the problem?" After some discussion, explain that when you keep trying and don't give up, you persist. Next, show students Woman Seated with Her Arms Folded and Sudden Shower on the Plateau Saint-Eurolt. Explain that both of these artists engaged in their work over long periods of time and remained persistent throughout their careers, even though their work was not recognized. Ask, "What are some ways that art- ists engage and persist when creating a work of art?" Advanced In their sketchbooks/journals, ask students to write their personal definitions of what it means to persist: (1) in everyday life, and (2) in art. Have students share some of their thoughts and responses in an online forum (group chat, dis- cussion board, social media, etc.) followed by a class discussion. Share a list of famous artists (with example artworks for each, if possible) who struggled financially or worked in obscurity during their careers and did not become well-known until after their deaths. Include Duparc and Prins and their paintings as examples. Ask, "Was it worth it for these artists to continue creating their work even though they did not have success until after they died? What would have hap- pened if they gave up?" After further discussion, ask, "Do you think there might be other 'genius' artists who still have not been recognized?" Finally, ask students to ponder a difficult question. Ask them not to respond right away, but to carefully consider their answer over time. Ask, "Imagine you have the opportunity to become financially successful through your art, but only if you change your style, subject matter, and technique to something that does not match your personal preferences. Would you make those changes in order to succeed finan- cially and critically? Or would you continue with your work knowing that financial and critical success might never come? How would you justify your decision?" Explain that they will respond online or in their journals after the next project has been completed. Explore Create Beginner/Intermediate Ask students to think of a person in their life such as a family mem- ber, teacher, relative, coach, or friend who demonstrates persistence well. This might be someone who has a challenging job, lives with an illness or disability, or makes steady progress towards realizing a long-term goal. Explain that they will create a portrait of this person that demonstrates his or her persistence. The portrait should combine a drawing of the chosen person with collage elements that add to the viewer's understanding of the per- son's persistence. Encourage students to bring in collage elements that remind them of their subject, such as articles or blog posts, candy wrappers, scraps of fabric, flower petals, or other materials. Alterna- tively, students might create a video using photographs or found foot- age of their person that tells his or her story of persistence. When completed, invite the people depicted in the artworks to an event in which students share their work and give a brief statement about how their subject has inspired them to persist. Be sure to invite school administrators and local press to the event. Advanced Ask students to create a short list of artistic challenges that frus- trate or intimidate them. It might include technical challenges, such as difficulty mastering a particular medium ("I'm terrible with pastels."), a technique ("I can't do stippling."), a point of view ("Foreshortening is impossible."), or a conceptual, content-oriented challenges, such as "I'm not good at conveying a message through my work," or "I have an idea that I want to explore, but I'm afraid of how people might react." Have students narrow their list to the two most challenging and frightening items. Explain that they will choose one of the two final challenges and spend the next two weeks of class working to over- come them. Explain, "You will select a challenge, then engage and persist in your artistic process to overcome it. This direct engage- ment with frustration and fear will empower you as an artist and as an individual who will face many challenges in your life." Students should work independently, but offer each other assistance when appropriate. After two or more weeks of classes, ask students to submit exam- ples of the process they followed while attempting to overcome their challenge. This might be organized as a physical portfolio, blog post, or video. Have students present their process, evidence, and artwork to the class. Finally, share and discuss each student's responses to the question posed at the end of the "Explore" section. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. Looking & Learning Engage and Persist "Select a challenge, then engage and persist in your artistic process to overcome it. This direct engagement with frustration and fear will empower you as an artist and as an individual who will face many challenges in your life." 26 November 2014 SchoolArts

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