task and trying to fulfill that task.
After the chosen task is completed,
the student writes a new task, puts it
in the pool, and then takes another.
The process repeats until the time
is up. With each class, it’s different.
There are always surprises.
For many teachers, this might
sound like a nightmare, but contemporary art is about pushing boundaries.
We test the limits in order to understand what is possible. If you understand how far you can go, you have
something to play or experiment with.
TASK encourages this conversation to
TASK is an opportunity to communicate to anybody that it is possible to
make something meaningful or beautiful from the mundane. Hopefully our
students will remember their TASK
experience for a long time, and maybe,
just maybe, they will see life just a
little bit differently.
backs of chairs, and on the door, welcoming students into the artroom.
Perhaps facilitating TASK is not for
the faint of heart. It does not promote
quiet learning. Messes are made. For
example, we have been witness to
students suddenly screaming, making
a tail and asking the teacher to wear
it, having impromptu dance parties
on the table, painting whimsical mustaches on students and teachers, and
assembling an army of paper airplanes.
Setting Ground Rules
To facilitate TASK, we set basic rules
such as, “Stay in the classroom,” “Par-
ticipate actively,” “Don’t write a task
you would not want to do yourself,”
and “Treat others with respect.” We
then set out an array of site-specific
props including sticky notes, tape,
string, markers, paper, and glue sticks.
To begin the process, the teacher
writes simple tasks to get the performance going. For example, “Make a
name tag for everyone in the class,”
or “Write a poem on a piece of tape.”
Each task goes in the “task pool,” and
the performance starts with each student selecting a slip of paper with a
Hillsboro High School art teachers Cynthia Schubert and Kelda Van Patten participated in the Art21 Educators Initiative
in 2010–2011. They had the opportunity
to work directly with Oliver Herring, who
facilitated TASK at a gallery in Midtown
Students initiate, define, and solve
challenging visual arts problems independently using intellectual skills such
as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.