Creating a corpse to work as a corps. Doing arts-based professional development in lots of different places has presented one consistent, universal challenge: How can we explore complex, pedagogical ideas when our art-making materials must be simple enough to pass through airport security? While this is not a deeply critical concern, it does mean that […]
I listened quietly to another in-service presenter talk about project-based learning. This talk is everywhere these days at my school — the idea that learning happens best in authentic, cross-disciplinary situations designed around real-world problem solving. Education buzzwords flew by too fast for me to catch. My mind wandered back to the studio. The ceramics […]
White-board crammed with (numbing) educational responsibilities. Arts education philosopher and social activist, Maxine Greene often says, “the opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic” as a way to remind us that art is often misunderstood as something purely decorative in our lives. In my years as a teaching artist, and as someone who trains teachers and teaching […]
A few days ago I visited the Whitney Museum in New York City with an artist friend to view Edward Hopper’s drawings. We walked through the quiet rooms filled with onlookers who penetrated their gaze into the images with intent silence and scrutiny. My friend Marty and I had museum voice conversations about every drawing. […]
Most of the high school seniors enrolled in my early pre-service teacher preparation program had never kept a sketchbook, so when we handed them out early last school year, they were curious, but many were also confused and intimidated. While some immediately started doodling and sketching, others shouted out questions and self-deprecations: “What do sketchbooks […]
In the 1940s photographer Helen Levitt went to Spanish Harlem to document children’s street drawings made of chalk on asphalt, concrete, and stone. In his essay “Children as Visionaries,” Robert Coles described the children as feeling “impelled to make their various marks” on a world “whose children still had some visual independence” . I thought […]
This is the second in a series of three (lightly edited) e-mail conversations I had with artist J. E. Johnson earlier this summer.
Today, I found myself thinking a lot about hands. At a workshop, we were asked to make something by hand, collaboratively, without skill or knowledge of the media, tools, or technique presented. It felt like a game – and, indeed, it was a lot of fun, with silly results shared in a cacophony of laughter. […]