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Lesson Plans

Re: Art Fairs in different systems

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 15 Apr 1997 19:52:16 -0400 (EDT)

In the several years I've been teaching I've experienced the ups and downs
of art festivals in three different school systems and they have been mixed
blessings, no matter how they've been handled.

I remember being told by a fifth grader when I was new to a school that they
hoped that they would be chosen to have work in the school show that year
because they had waited since first grade and it hadn't happened yet.
Showing one piece of artwork from each student at the elementary level
insures no one will get to adulthood with awful memories of not being
"chosen". Granted, this means lots of planning, matting, labeling
collecting, etc., from the beginning of the school year, but it means that no
child is excluded and it is a marvelous thing to behold. Parents and
classroom teachers have been willing partners (sometimes!) and setting aside
a few pieces of work from each project and every couple of weeks doing some
matting and labeling simplifies the process.

One elementary show (of one piece of artwork from each of my 850 art
students) was put up, in the high school gym IN one day FOR one day (!) on
4'x8' panels of corrugated cardboard "accordianned" by 2" masking tape
strips. In another situation, 700 pieces of artwork were hung over the
course of a week throughout the halls of an entire school. In a third case,
only fifth graders had their artwork exhibited at the Art Festival, but no
one was excluded. It has always been important to me that each child have
the experience of being included in the art festival at the elementary level,
just as it is important, I think, to hang the work from an entire class of
students when the project is finished. Selectiveness and competition can

The issue of retaining student work for exhibition can be sometimes softened
if a color copy of the work is either hung for exhibition or given to the
student to keep. Actually I guess I feel pretty strongly about valuing
student work and "first do no harm".

Hope this rambling makes sense--I've missed some days with the group and
hope that this hasn't been redundant.

Good luck to us all in this Arts Festival season!

Kathy Fiske