In encouraging my students to embrace an arts integrated pedagogy in their future classrooms, I’ve been forced to recognize and acknowledge their anxiety about making art and facilitating arts-based lessons. This has left me pondering a question that kept surfacing throughout the year: Do you have to be an “artist” to make art?
I like to show my 80-year-old dancers examples of performances on YouTube in order to inspire them for the work we’re about to tackle. They are typically incredulous that they can see all that movement on my tiny iPhone screen and also of the opinion that “all those twists and turns are fine, but I’m […]
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 […]
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. […]
Before class one day, I watch my student Jessica fill in what appears to be an abstract shape on mylar with black sharpie, and I can’t help but wonder what she’s drawing. I can’t quite see it yet, but she shades with concentration, ignoring her classmates who chat across the tables. Class begins with general […]
It is the last day of the the three-week summer arts residency for high school students, where I spent most of my energy and passion this summer. We are wrapping up the last class in a now-spotless studio, a space that had been covered floor-to-high-as-could-be-reached with student drawings just 24 hours ago. My students are […]
Recently, my friend Charlotte gave me some advice. Her pottery was selling much better than my own, and I asked about her secrets. When she started talking, I politely interrupted her to ask if I could take notes. She agreed. My fellow Teaching Artists, take heed of Charlotte’s sage wisdom: Context: Charlotte is seven. She […]
This morning started with a huge mess. I was absent from school for a few days, and when I returned, my students informed me that one of our glazes had settled out. I plugged in the electric mixer, planted my feet, flipped the switch, and the bucket went flying. Red glaze, steeped in iron oxide, […]