My philosophy of art education has changed tremendously since I was in graduate school. If you were to ask me what art education means, I would’ve said something about discovering and embracing a sense of pride that comes with art making. Fast forward 11 years later and my answer is that art education stresses the importance of developing creative problem solving skills that are critical for success in a rapidly changing world. Over the years I have developed a curriculum that meets the needs of a diverse population of students. I am exploring how art education can merge diverse student interests and passions in an evolving, responsive and socially relevant way.
Currently in my classroom I am providing a safe space for my students to explore a variety of styles in Graffiti art that they personally have interest. In the past I have taught this unit and focused on specific styles while providing a minimum of at least three options with how to create a particular art form. Some examples are the formation of lettering in Graffiti; bubble/ block letters, wild style or tags. I have revised this unit, with authenticity in mind, to provide students a wider variety of choice with what style and technique to investigate and master. We have studied Graffiti in its various forms; stencil, poster, sticker, heaven, street art and guerilla art. In addition, students also have to write an individualized art plan that incorporates techniques to explore, research styles and artists and materials needed.
Authenticity in the arts focus on developing a students’ capacity to express their ideas and feelings and to present their creation in artistic forms. This has been accomplished in my class by incorporating opportunities for students to imaginatively develop their own ideas and solve problems. Students in my class also learn and practice skills with arts material, concepts, processes and think reflectively and respond to their own work and the work of others. Through the lens of authentic learning, I have provided a space for my students to explore problems that have a personal frame of reference. This happens when students are provided choice in defining the problem and selecting the path of its solution. This year I will be attending a P.D. for the Arts and we will probe what it means to know your students and plan effectively for their success. I will use my findings as a resource for the guiding question I am researching in relation to authenticity; how can I support all students to build deeper connections between themselves and their work, ensuring that their work matters to them? For some of my students I think that they are making art just for me or to simply pass the class. I look forward to discovering new ideas to ensure that every single one of my students has a personal investment in their art making.
Adrienne – I love your POP for this year. Especially, the part where you said, “art education stresses the importance of developing creative problem solving skills that are critical for success in a rapidly changing world.” As a math person, I love the use of problem solving skills and critical thinking. I also think it’s great that you’re helping your students find personal connections with the art that they’re studying and helping them explore so many graffiti art methods. It sounds like your classroom is both rigorous and authentic.
I wanted to attach a few articles that may help your students find personal connections with their work and to add onto what we were talking about this morning in our math POD.
Untapped Cities – The Legalization of Street Art in Rio: https://untappedcities.com/2012/02/13/the-legalization-of-street-art-in-rio-de-janeiro-brazil/
Huffington Post – The Rare Beauty of Rio’s Art Scene: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/street-art-tour-rio-de-janeiro-olympics_us_57a8d469e4b0aae2a5a0bcda
Atlas Obscura – Largest Mural
Wow this is great, thanks Leslee!
I love this line from your blog post: “I am exploring how art education can merge diverse student interests and passions in an evolving, responsive and socially relevant way.”
Reading your post and thinking about the conversation we had this morning in our math/art group around how the art form of graffiti is valued (or not) in different parts of the world made me wonder about the larger question of who in our society dictates what art is and its value. Do your kiddos ever ask about or discuss that?
I wondered how students would respond to considering the art you ask them to create, research, and reflect on and juxtaposing that with art that from the high brow world deems as valuable art. Immediately my mind went to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s apesh*t video and this article* I read immediately after watching it to help me digest what I’d just seen.
I know it’s like pulling teeth getting kids to write in art class (because it feels just as teeth pull-y asking them to write in math class), but maybe could make for a cool discussion or presentation that feels personal to the kids.
I love how you connect the production of art to student interest in general and extend this to their role as critical thinkers in a rapidly-changing world – this really expands the impact of art education. I also think about the role of art in our everyday branded culture and how different forms of text, including graffiti, occupy such a meaningful place in our lives, without us necessarily being aware of their impact. I’d love to learn more about some examples of supports that you used to help students connect with their work and the outcome of this work. I am also curious about the connection between student engagement and audience as an extension of your work with authenticity. How will they display their work and how can we as a school community come together to celebrate their work?