>As I've been sorting through my art submissions, I have found that a couple of students entered drawings of cartoon characters, like spongebob. Should I allow these to be hung in the
>artshow, or would it be a bad illegal move? Thanks.
In my opinion, copied work should not get credit and it should not appear in a school exhibition. Teaching to copy leaves some to feel that plagiarism is okay in art. I would accept responsibility by saying, that I must not have explained this well enough. "I cannot exhibit copied work, but if this is a first time, I can allow the students who submitted copied work to choose something original instead." If a portion is copied for a good reason, or if an artist has been inspirational, credits need to be added to the labeling to explain the quotation or the similarities.
We have all heard about the first year Harvard student novelist who recently got caught for blatant plagiarism. All copies of her novel are being recalled from bookstores by her publisher. Who were her teachers? If an art teacher gives credit for copied art, why would an English teacher not do the same with copied writing?
I know that some artists do derivative work, but in nearly all cases it is done for a totally different reason than anything I see done by students. Ethics and professionalism are complex issues and we will never all agree on the details (nor should we), but we should definitely discuss these issues with our students so they understand why they may be penalized if they use other people's images. Art is both beauty and truth.