I wanted to weigh in on this issue. First of all let me declare up front
that I DO NOT teach in an "arts high" situation, but in a public high school
where my course is an elective among electives. So my feelings about work in
an art show will be colored by that. If I were at a real round table
discussion about choosing work, here are the questions I would want to ask
the other art teachers who have decided that not all kids work should be
shown (I try to have an example of everyone's work, and have them mat one
piece for the show)
1. What are you afraid of if you show the work? Take it from a
veteran...your reputation won't be tarnished by letting everyone's work in.
The work is supposed to represent your students. And, yes, maybe the
student can't 'get it' or 'see the difference', and maybe it is mediocre
according to your standards.....but I venture to say his parents along with
him are probably proud of what he COULD do. (I remember not 'getting it' in
college ceramics and being made fun of by the professor, only to sign up for
his course on the advanced level to prove to him that I could do it if it
killed me or him~now I can teach anyone how to throw on the potter's wheel
in 3 easy steps).
2. How about a senior show in one part of your art show, and then a 'artists
in progress' show in the other part for your beginning students...to show
how far your program stretches...
My seniors are in charge of the art show...then we fill in the empty flats
with work from all the other classes...in this way the school can see what
they will experience in all the classes, but they KNOW which art belongs to
the seniors whose portfolios have gotten them into college.
One thing I know for sure, some years the art show just "pops", and some
year the art show sits there, but that is from MY perspective...students
almost always think it's just a cool thing to be in.