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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in order to garner ideas and solu- tions for the future. My students would later complete the second half of the project representing those solutions on a "horizon." On the day of the "destruction," the scene was alive with curiosity and delight as passersby happily chucked balloons at our artwork (glued on a 4 x 2' Masonite board). A few teachers jumped in and a few balloons hit the exterior school wall, much to my admin - istrators' dismay. The entire piece of art was smothered. In the end, balloon bits were stuck to it, pieces of paper were peeling off, and just enough of the "destroyed" imagery could be seen through a sea of cool- colored paint splatters. Sharing Suggestion Cards The next day, we chose a few vol- unteers to paint a sunrise on a horizon for the second half of our piece, while we read through the suggestion cards. Most sugges - tions were serious and students took turns writing out the solu - tions, which they consolidated into carefully worded positive phrases. We constructed the two halves into a diptych, throwing in a lesson on how to use a drill, and hung it in the hall. Art His - tory 2017 had left its mark. Final Thoughts Social critiques. The democratiza- tion of art. Unconventional meth- ods. These are just some of the characteristics of contemporary art we identified in our final unit of study. This project allowed us to be contemporary artists and experi - ence firsthand how art is so much more than a final product. Some of our issues and solutions needed to be generalized in order to remain politically neutral, but even so, some could argue that we chose sides. Part of me regretted watering down their fiery voices, but in the end it was a lesson in deliberate and respectful discourse. If my students learned something about that by way of art, I did my job this year. Julia Mooney is an art teacher at Moore- stown High School in Moorestown, New Jersey. jmooney@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Responding: Understanding and eval- uating how the arts convey meaning. W E B L I N K ping-a-han-dynasty-urn/ SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 19

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