SchoolArts Magazine

APR 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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Art to Be Heard I pitched my idea to students. I told them that sometimes it might feel like your voices are smothered by parents, politics, and administra - tors, but your voices matter. I chal- lenged them to create art that is meant to be heard. I asked them to think about what they wanted to see eradicated as they entered adulthood. I tried to warm them up by suggesting cell phone restric - tions and standardized tests. They took the ball and ran with it. What about test culture in general? The list grew from there to include gen - der stereotypes, college debt, pov- erty, addiction, terrorism, cancer, racism, sexism, and gun violence. They brought up heavy topics with - out hesitation and I was already proud of them. Working Collaboratively That's not to say we didn't have a moment or two when I won - dered if this had been a bad idea. I instructed students to make a visual representation of one of the issues they wanted to see eradicated to contribute to a larger collabora - tive artwork. One student made a piece suggesting we eradicate the Black Lives Matter movement. I asked him to revise it, since that represented just one political view - point. He lamented that he felt his voice was always squelched by liberals, and I reminded him that this wasn't the format to assert one party's voice; this was an opportu - nity to unify with peers by identify- ing broad common grievances. He seemed to see the logic in this and made a new piece from scratch. Destruction by Water Balloon In the next stage of our project, paint-filled water balloon experi - ments ensued. We decided we would invite the student body to help us "destroy" the issues we'd come up with by throwing paint-filled water balloons at our artwork. Wash - able paint was donated from the Moorestown Elementary School and students worked together to draft an artist statement. One student designed suggestion cards, which were given to each balloon-thrower Social critiques. The democratization of art. Unconventional methods. These are just some of the characteristics of contemporar art we identified in our final unit of stud . Students visually interpreted issues and "destroyed" them with paint-filled water balloons (bottom), came up with solutions to those issues on a horizon (top), and wrote an artists' statement (right). 18 APRIL 2018 SchoolArts

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