SchoolArts Magazine

November 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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Page 12 of 54

The Best of the Best A D V O C A C Y CONTINUED ON PAGE 41. T en years ago, I had a vision of taking our student art into the galleries of the professional art museum in our city. I brought this vision to my colleagues at the Tennessee Art Education Associa - tion (TAEA) and to the Knoxville Museum of Art. With the synergy of these two groups, our first annual show opened to the largest reception ever held at the museum, with more than 500 people in attendance. Many families at the reception had never been to our city's museum, and more than 300 pieces of student art were viewed during the two-week show. In addition, we were able to pro - cure more than $50,000 in scholar- ships from the Memphis College of Art and the Savannah College of Art and Design. That evening, student artists enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame, and many left with cash awards as well as a chance to further their artistic endeavors in arts col - leges and universities. Support and Success Convinced by the overwhelming success of the experience from the initial year, TAEA supported the sec - ond annual show by expanding it to a full month. The scholarship offerings were also expanded to include four additional institutes of higher learn - ing. In addition to the awards and scholarships, the Best of Show piece was purchased by a local donor and placed in the Knoxville Museum of Art's Education Collection while an image was reproduced on local bill - boards to support and celebrate the importance of arts education. Statewide Expansion Seeing the success and need of expanding the exhibition and schol - arship program, TAEA agreed for a third year to broaden the scope of the program to include professional museums in the Nashville and Memphis areas. Collaborating with the West Tennessee Regional Art Center and the Renaissance Center in middle Tennessee, TAEA went statewide. Since that expansion nine years ago, students have benefitted from the statewide exhibition and scholarship program reaching more than 50 counties, 100 schools, 200 art educators, and 3,000 students who have exhibited over 3,200 pieces of extraordinary middle- and high- school artwork. Best of the Best Our organization wanted to provide even more acknowledgement and rec - ognition to student artists who had placed among the very best in each region. TAEA teamed up with the Tennessee Arts Academy, a summer professional development academy serving more than 300 arts teachers at Nashville's Belmont University each summer, to cosponsor the first annual Best of the Best Student Art Exhibition. The previous year's cat - egory winners in each of the three divisions were showcased. The ten categories included painting, draw - ing, mixed media, sculpture, photog- raphy, printmaking, ceramics, video production, computer graphics, and overall show winners. To complement the annual Best of the Best show, TAEA also offered a member exhibit called Connections, which comprised teacher-created pieces, which reinforced that arts educators should always continue to learn about and create art, aligning with the main philosophy of the Ten - nessee Arts Academy. Jim Dodson These exhibitions have given affirmation and legitimac to oung people's ideas and the abilit o expound on their ideas through visual images. 8 NOVEMBER 2016 SchoolArts Left to right: Kayley Davault, Megan Wellmaker, Sean Borwick.

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