SchoolArts Magazine

April 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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H ow do we move art educa- tion forward in the eyes of students, teachers, admin- istrators, parents, and the community? By showing them the process of art! Art is typically viewed as a product-centered discipline. Most people typically only see the finished product and are left wondering about the process that was used to create it. If we only see the finished product, it further fuels the thought that being artistic and creative is something you are born with, and not something you can develop through open-ended prob- lems and divergent thinking strate- gies. The process of art is our greatest advocacy tool. A New Approach Over the past several years, I have been reinventing the art program at my school to better match the needs of students, as well as prepare them for a life that requires creative think - ing. I began to think of what it was that made art so essential for students in my artroom. Was it copying artistic styles? Was it fall-leaf projects? Was it Picasso-inspired cubist self-portraits? I began to doubt the effectiveness of my traditional approach to teaching art. After a great deal of research, experimentation, and trial and error, I began to change the content and approach to teaching and learning in my artroom. Making Learning Visible I am a big fan of Harvard's Project Zero research initiative, specifically the Making Learning Visible project. The main idea behind this project is to exhibit student learning as a reflec- tive process instead of focusing on the finished product. It focuses on images of students working, student quotes, stages of planning, conversations, and reflections that demonstrate their learning processes. Inspired by Project Zero, I decided to adapt it for my artroom. As a Jason Blair result, every project my students engage in is now documented from beginning to end. I am constantly taking pictures, asking students for quotes, using students' planning documents, and collecting additional materials that demonstrate the cre- ative process. Works in Progress I also have students store works in progress in the hallways. This not only frees up space in my artroom, but shows students that I value their work at every stage. Additionally, it demonstrates to other students, staff, and the community how the project evolves, offering a glimpse into the creative process. Process Boards Once the projects are finished, stu- dents write an artist statement to accompany their artwork. Hang- ing next to each project is a process board. On this board there is a project description, as well as images, quotes, planning documents, and more to pro- vide a broader context and clearer lens to those viewing the artwork. Through these process boards, I am able to show others how art promotes divergent thinking through open-ended problems, and how students collabo - rated at various stages of the project, failed and learned from their mistakes, reflected on their projects, and made adjustments. This display serves as an advocacy piece while providing insight into a process that is essential for suc - cess in any career field. Jason Blair is an art teacher who teaches in Dublin, Ohio. blair_jason@ dublin- schools.net N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. W E B L I N K artedtoday.wordpress.com The process of art is our greatest advocac ool. A D V O C A C Y Art as Process 8 APRIL 2016 SchoolArts

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