I agree with just about everything in your post with the exception of the
idea that having an artist come to your room and work is "dumb" and rather
like the zoo. (unfortunate choice of words in a forum for discussion
rather than judgment, I believe) I would not expect the artist to sit and
silently work. I ask them to give a lecture, show slides, discuss their
work, and when they work, to talk about it. It has been very effective.
Your suggestion to go to the studio would be just lovely, but with 200 kids
a week (10 classes/2 per day/2.4 hours each) I'd have to arrange and PAY
for 10 busses to wherever. And not a lot of studios have room for the herd
I'd be bringing in. So this is much more expedient. As I stated in a
recent post, I don't expect the artists to produce with the kids. This is
where I was personally burned in the past, and seems to be the place others
have experienced a problem. Now, if the resume' attested to the fact that
the artist had been successful in this approach in the past, showed
examples, etc., I might go that route.
Oh...the artists' day that I personally mentioned (don't know if this is
the one you referred to or not) did not involve a product for the
students. It was completely display/discuss. Excellent opportunity for
comparing and contrasting artists and their styles, products, etc.