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Re: Questions about Art Ed (about rubics)


Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 04:46:52 PDT

In a message dated 5/7/04 7:07:54 AM, writes:

> Yes, let them know what a quality outcome looks like. But Please, don't
> perscribe every step along
> the way. We are teaching students how artists think. There is suppose to
> be beauty and meaning at
> the end of the road.
> One of the standards that I set for myself as a teacher of art is, if I know
in advance what I will see on students' papers, then I am exerting too much
control. I make a distinction between a project, which might have a teaching
usefulness, and art, which comes from the artist (in this case, the students in
my classes) Peter London often says (much better than I do) that if a
person has something important to "say" to a listener who cares about the
"speaker", then the desire to say it well will take care of many issues of quality. One
of my young students, a ball of fire, was always in a hurry with his work,
and I had concerns about quality. He then began a self chosen attempt to build
little cardboard sculptures of his new step father's favorite NASCAR racers.
He was meticulous and particular about each piece and brought reference
materials so that each color and logo would be rendered correctly. His investment
in the idea (his idea) gave him the motivation to do a top notch job. I
humbly offer that the idea is the core of art making and that we as teachers can
assist in the execution of the ideas in many ways due to our backgrounds in
media, processes and the work of artists before and now. But the idea, the
meaning, comes from the artist. If we wish for our students to behave as artists
we must offer them the opportunity to behave as artists. (and if not in _our_
classrooms, then where?) I once imagined a little time machine which would
put Georgia O'Keefe, Henry Moore, Richard Diebenkorn, Claude Monet, David
Hockney, Francis Bacon, Helen Frankenthaler in the same time frame, but all aged
six. (you may insert your own master artists, the list does not matter...) And
here they come, in a line, marching in to my classroom on the first day of art.
 What Lesson Plan do I write which will engage each of these very unique,
potentially great children? How do help them to begin to express their completely
unique point of view, right from the beginning? As artists we know that one
is unlikely to make great art every time one steps in to the studio (and here I
insert Woody's great quote: “The function of the overwhelming majority of
your artwork
is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction
of your artwork that soars.” from: “Art & Fear”
So my students often do choose to practice color mixing, page after page,
practice embroidery stitches in preparation for making a finished piece, practice
drawing the horse models I brought back from Denver and so on. And in these
processes, few of which make it to the famous "refrigerator gallery", each
student has the opportunity to create prosperous ways of art making that are
unique from those of her classmates. And each student is continually invited to
mine his personal life, and tastes and passions for the content of the images and
structures to be made in class. And so, rubrics. Hm. Walk through MOMA:
what rubrics will you put up to judge the works there? behavior rubrics? How
much risk taking? How much persistence? How much advance preparation? How much
meaning? How strange and new? How personal? How universal? I do not have many
answers, but I am awash with questions. Thanks for reading.
kathy douglas