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Re: school art exhibitions - very long

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From: linda eastman (lindacharlie_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 03:19:04 PDT


on 8/27/02 4:49 AM, artappeal at artappeal@attbi.com wrote:

> ... art exhibits/fairs. ... Attendance is moderate, so I'd like to do
> something a little different to try to get more people to attend. Anyone
> want to post their great ideas?

leah, i also put up at least 2 works of art for each student, however i do
it in class sets. ie. the whole class has 2 projects on exhibit although not
neccessarily the same project for all classes of the same grade level. did
that make sense? in other words, nobody wants to 75 of something no matter
how unique each one is. in addition to this, the PTA has put on an "ice
cream social" in the gym and the high school jazz band comes to perform in
the school lobby or on the front lawn depending on the weather. my displays
are really nice. the art work is exemplary, everything is labeled, mounted
on construction paper or larger colored paper, and i always have signage
describing important aspects of the lesson, interactives, etc. you might
say that i don't have the "brightest crayons in the box" for students, and,
not surprisingly, the parents are also from the shallow end of the gene
pool. some actually go to the trouble of reading all my narratives (but i
keep doing it anyway.) i hang the work in class sets but i never put the
work by the kids' rooms...always somewhere else in the building so they have
to search for it (and see the rest of the show on their way).
 it never failed that i would remind the kids near the beginning of the year
that i planned to keep their art work until the art show, and they would
look at me with blank faces until someone said "oh, you mean the ice cream
social?" this is when i smiled and said "the same night as the ART SHOW"
instead of slitting my throat right in front of them as i felt like doing.
(just kidding.) THEN...
one year i wanted to do something spectacular that they would remember for
all time. i reasoned that if whole grade levels collaborated on a stupendous
installation, it might sink in. soooo, that year i turned the art room into
an underwater fantasyland. 1st graders made big balloon papier mache
fish/octopi/jellyfish which were suspended from the ceiling. i covered the
lights with green and blue celophane, and hung banner paper covered with 2nd
grade fish paintings all around the room with the furniture shoved behind
the paper so you could see nothing but fish everywhere. green crepe paper
seaweed, sand and shells on the floor, fish nets,...you get the picture.
also i played the beatles' yellow submarine and ...there's another beatles
song which i can't believe i've forgotten since it played 75 times that
night. oh well. i used sandy skoglund as an art history connection to
explain installations.

so, with the help of 2 hard-working PTA moms, i set this all up on the
friday before the show on monday...took a long time but it was worth it. the
kids and parents thought it was magical. i left it up all week and the kids
had "art under the sea." we talked about what it would be like to live
underwater, if fish could paint, etc. and i had a ream of manilla drawing
paper and cans of markers out ...each class spent the whole art period
immersed (ha ha) in this environment. (also played whale songs and other
watery music).

that was 4 years ago. since then we have transformed the room into a
rainforest, a prehistoric cave, and monet's garden, always with props and
sounds of the environment. now the neighbors who have no kids come in and
see the installation, the principal invites other principals to come over,
we always have "art in the ..." for the whole week, etc. and no one calls
the art show the ice cream social anymore. instead they ask me at the
beginning of the year what the theme is going to be this year! HOORAY! (it's
going to be an egyptian tomb, books of the dead, reliefs and paintings on
walls, life size papier mache mummuy, etc. ...any suggestions for sound
effects???)

last spring i requested that the show be moved from may to march because,
since i have 2 buildings, it is too hard to do this twice in the same month
(or week as the case was last year...i mean, carry me out on a stretcher!).
the pta consented to have something besides ice cream in march, and the jazz
band will be there as usual. end of story. hope this helps.
linda in michigan

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