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Our big school exhibit is called Art a Loan (I can't put the French accent
mark over the "A" which makes it mean "to"). I have presented this idea at
NAEA convention to a small group, but it to my amazment, it does not seem
to catch on.
In May, we have jurors (artists or art teachers from other districts)
choose about four works per grade level from students K-12. During the
summer we have the works professionally matted and framed. Each is affixed
with an engraved brass tag stating the child's name, year in school and
"Art a Loan 1999." We strive to do all this in a very playful manner.
Each child submits a list of favorite people to whom we send engraved
invitations to the gala opening. We also invite over 200 business and
professional people in our community of 2000 people (we are a small school.
Maybe 700 students k-12.
On opening night of the month-long exhibit held in the public library, we
have a harp and oboe player, silver "champagne" fountain, elegant pastries
and ice cream, T-shirts for each student with his/her own artwork
imprinted, biographies and artists' statement by each work, a clown, and a
roving magician (to control the kiddies who follow him like the Pied
Piper)plus a standing-room-only crowd.
At 7:00 the leasing begins. For $100, a local merchant/professional may
lease a piece for public display for one year after which the framed work
is returned to the student. The leasing is frenzied. To acquire the piece,
the patron must detach a paper tag with a number from the wall and take it
to the leasing table. Each year, people arrive 30 minutes before the
official opening to scope out the selections. Once they choose, they stand
by and guard the piece from any other interest.
The ample amount of money generated underwrites the cost of the event next
year to this very grand scale.
Everyone wins. The art department looks good and gets into the community.
The dentist who selects work to hang in his office looks good. The
families are proud, the kids feel important, and they have their work on
display all year at a local restaurant or office. All the elementary
students wear their T-shirts the next day and we make more money selling
additional shirts to the families.
This year a parent called to thank me, and I said we try to make the kids
feel special. She said, " I felt special, and I was just her mother!"
It's a feel good event and if it can work in our small town, it can work in
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