SchoolArts Magazine

March 2015

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 12 of 70

A D V O C A C Y know I could have just mailed the let- ters, I actually walked up and down Main Street to hand deliver them to make a personal connection and get any feedback I could. I found that some businesses absolutely loved the idea, some agreed with little fanfare, others came on board late, and some did not even respond. It was okay, though, since I ended up with sufficient businesses willing to participate. I even approached the local news- paper, and the editor was so enthusi- astic that he sent a photographer to snap students hanging their work and published an article on the event. He was also very helpful in spreading the word to other businesses through the town's Chamber of Commerce. I have attempted to be creative in the ways I advocate for the visual arts. One of the events for which I put on my advocacy shoes is called the Roadrunner Art Walk. My school's mascot is the road - runner, hence the name of the event. I created a showcase of student artwork in the shop windows along Main Street. I approached businesses about allow - ing me to display the works in their windows. Families and community members could stroll along the street and view the work. Garnering Support Here is how I went about organiz- ing the event: First, I wrote a letter explaining the concept and inviting businesses to participate. Although I Thom Knab Organizing the Show I took photos of the win- dows at the participating businesses so I could judge what size and how much work could be placed in each. I framed the pieces I wanted to hang so as to make the best impres- sion. (I have been buying and collecting frames for a while, but matting the work probably would have been sufficient.) I created a spreadsheet of the busi- nesses and the work to be hung at each, along with business hours so I knew when I could hang pieces. The biggest challenge, or so I thought, was going to be hanging all the art- work. As it turned out, it went rather quickly and many businesses actually offered to hang the work themselves. I used reus- able clips for hanging, where necessary, as they come off windows and woodwork cleanly after the exhibit. Many store windows already had hooks and nails to hang their own dis- plays, and in some instances, I just set the artwork on the windowsill when that worked best. I planned and communicated an end date (about two weeks later) to come back and pick up the artworks. This art exhibit was a big success. Families were excited and made a day of finding their child's artwork and maybe having lunch somewhere in town. The students were honored to have their art chosen for display. The community was able to see the high- quality artwork students created. In addition, the newspaper's coverage reached even more members of the community to educate them on the art program. Here is some advice for other teachers who wish to do a simi- lar exhibit: The Roadrunner Art Walk I created a showcase of student artwork in the shop windows along Main Street. Continued on page 57. 8

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