SchoolArts Magazine

February 2016

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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W e've all been in need of a challenge for our students that will shift the dynamic in our classrooms and lighten the mood after an intense period of work, right? I was at that place last March and, as luck would have it, Valentine's Day candy was on sale. After a fair amount of research, I found a "conversation heart" painting online that appealed to me in terms of composition and color. It provided just the springboard I needed. The Challenge: Social Commentary I thought, Why not invite students to change the messages on the candy to address current social issues in a somewhat ambiguous way? Hence Sweet and Sour was born. I presented the title to my class, explaining that not all social commentary addresses negative issues. But since artists typically address issues that are unre - solved, there is often an undercurrent of anger or passion. On the morning we began the chal- lenge, I asked those who arrived early to distribute the candy around the room on paper towels for painting. I took that opportunity to sort and spread out the mat board scraps. As the rest of the class arrived, I asked students to choose their favorite color and size of mat board on their way to their seats. Most of the scraps were around 12 x 14" (30 x 36 cm) or 12 x 16" (30 x 41 cm). I saw eyes brighten as they fell on the beautiful array of candy-colored mat board, not to men- tion the candy at their tables. I had created a short presenta- tion to introduce the specifics of this challenge, the image that had sparked the design direction, the 34 FEBRUARY 2016 SchoolArts H I G H S C H O O L Betsy DiJulio Wh ot invite students to change the messages on the cand o address current social issues in a somewhat ambiguous wa ? SWEET (and sour) Danielle Martin

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