What's your opinion and/or experience with "Art Days" at your schools?
Here in Hawaii where there are no longer art teachers employed at the
elementary level, schools have taken to sponsorng "art days" once a year at
which artists volunteer their time (an usually materials!) to present a
40-50 minute project to 4 - 6 rotating classes. As a professional artist
and free-lance art teacher (I work independent contracts through
Artists-in-the-Schools and am the director of a summer art academy) I get
bombarded with requests for these events. Most of my artist friends who do
these events feel as if they've been used and put through the wringer when
I've been asked to write an article for our local Arts Society about the
benefits/disadvantages of these events and am looking for input from those
of you who have experience with this. My initial feeling is that some art
is better than no art for the kids, but deep down I believe that these are
product oriented events at which no real learning takes place. I am
beginning to think that "art days" reinforce the notion that art is just a
quickie, fun, play activity provided by artsits who aren't valued enough to
be paid. I am working hard here to convince administrators and teachers
that art belongs in the curriculum as an important subject in its own right
and as a valuable interdisciplinary teaching strategy.
Always take time to stop and smell the roses... and sooner or later,
you'll inhale a bee.