SchoolArts Magazine

January 2018

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 A s a new quarterly term or semester begins, we find ourselves re-energized and ready to dive deep into the creativity of our students. Everything is going just how we planned, until we slowly begin to notice the piles of paperwork that need grading building up on our desks. Unfortunately, this is the story of too many art educa - tors, and we have forgotten one of the m ost important aspects of our job: advocating for our art program. "If I don't do it, who will?" I find myself asking this question a lot when it comes to art advocacy. I have made it a priority to create awareness about my program through a variety of methods: Exhibiting Student Art One of the easiest ways to promote your program is by displaying stu- dent artwork in the hallways of your school and rotating the artwork on a consistent basis. Displaying artwork in the administrative offices of your school district as well as local busi- nesses will also keep students, par- ents, and the community informed. Most states hold annual Youth Art Month exhibitions to showcase student artwork. This is yet another approach to sharing artwork and giv - ing students and teachers the recog- nition they deserve. Getting Published Creating a website for student artwork and other events is important to bring- ing awareness of the projects students a re doing in your artroom. Publishing articles in local newspapers, blogs, or publications such as SchoolArts is another valuable advocacy tool. School-wide Art Shows One of my favorite events of the school year is planning our school art show. Each year, the Wilson Elementary PTA joins me in host- ing a school art show and ice cream social. Students are allowed to choose their favorite two pieces of artwork to exhibit. During the event, students proudly walk through the hallways with their parents, participating in art scavenger hunts, face painting, bal- loon twisting, and ice-cream eating. Art Advocac ctivism Brian Sommersberger Guest Artist Program My current goal for my art program has been trying to infuse my commu- nity's local art scene into the art cur- riculum. I created a series called the Wilson Guest Artist Series. For each month of the school year, the artwork of one local artist is featured. The artists are given a locked display case to feature their artwork, artist state- ment, and processes about their work. I have been fortunate to have some of the artists conduct workshops with students to get a true idea of how the artists produce their work. Advocating for your art program is up to you. If you don't do it, who will? I hope sharing a few things I do at my school will help you to become a strong advocate of your own art program. Brian Sommersberger is an art teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. bsommersberger@ Advocating fo our art program is up t ou. If ou don't do it, who will? Students participate in a scavenger hunt at the Wilson Elementary Art Show. 8 JANUAR Y 2018 SchoolArts

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