SchoolArts Magazine

October 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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A D V O C A C Y BRAG: The Brick Room Art Galler I thought it would be great to have an art gallery space at my elemen- tary school, but where could it be housed? About fifteen years ago, my school added a new wing, resulting in a transition area of about 880 square feet. The space had four windows and was part of a hallway, so I knew stu- dents and adults would pass through the space regularly. I had found my gallery space! Getting Lighting After my principal approved the hall- way as the school's art gallery, I had to figure out how to make it work as a display space. First, I tackled lighting. Using the art program's credit card rewards points, I purchased focusable lighting and had it installed by the school's electrician and custodian. Collecting Furnishings When establishing a school gallery, it is important to get the word out because you never know who might be able to help or what might be donated. For example, an aide in my building donated a glass display case from her candy-making business. My principal had a little budget money left, which he offered to use to pur- chase rods that hang down from the ceiling. Using money earned through art fundraisers, I purchased display items such as frames and sculpture stands. I also bought a park bench, found an artificial tree in the school basement, and received a nice love - seat that used to be in the staff lounge. These pieces all have a home in the gallery space. Thom Knab Alternative Exhibitions Since there isn't usually any student work to display at the beginning of the school year, I sometimes use the gallery to exhibit my own artwork. In addition, I have created an exhibit of artworks and craft items I've collected from artists all around the world, and have made special displays of student artwork for school events. There are currently about 200 stu- dent artworks displayed in the space. The gallery is an effective advocacy tool for parents and visitors who come to the school. It also reinforces and shares what I do in my art program with fellow teachers and district administrators. Maintaining Your Gallery Once your gallery is up and running, it can be a big help to find parents interested in helping to keep the gal - lery "current." Changing out artwork, removing artwork from frames, and placing new artwork in them can all be time-consuming tasks. Ask for help! Because my gallery space has walls made almost entirely of red brick, I named the gallery BRAG for Brick Room Art Gallery. I introduced it to my students as a place where I brag about their good work. Their goal is to create artworks worthy of display in the gallery. Good luck exhibiting! Thom Knab is an art teacher at Dodge Elementary School in Williamsville, New York, and NAEA Elementary director. tknab W E B L I N K tknab The galler s an effective advocac ool for parents and visitors who come to the school. 8 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts

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