An article I recently read offered this advice, “publicly displaying students’ art engages parents, arts education advocates, and the community in conversations about the importance of art.” The author was not an art educator; this was new information for them.
For us, it’s just a line in a random article. However, it made me pause. Not because it’s a revolutionary concept, but because seeing it take up space made it more relevant and legitimate. Which got me thinking about visibility. Making your program more visible can show your community the importance of art education and the work you do. YES! But HOW do you make your program more visible?
No doubt you have tried-and-true methods—hanging student art everywhere possible in the school and community or hosting an annual art show are the two we hear most often. We agree these are effective—it all boils down to showcasing your students’ work! But it’s more than that, right? Because art education is more than the final product, it’s about thinking and exploration. Art education is about the process of learning—that’s the key.
What happens if we showcase students’ work from beginning to end? Demonstrating students’ creative process including planning, researching, risk-taking, failure, persistence, and development helps people SEE the value of art education. Its importance and purpose become VISIBLE! Showing the final product only allows viewers to say, “Look how talented those students are,” without taking time to understand, ponder, and appreciate the hours of development and thought it took to make the final product.
What could showcasing students’ development process look like? The resources you use should help you with this. Do you rely on materials that keep process, exploration, and thinking at the center of what students do? Do they support making students’ learning process VISIBLE? As you work on your plan for the year, we invite you to explore the many resources Davis provides. Discover the wide variety of programs that support creative processes and student development on pages 6 to 28. Thinking about introducing mindfulness and expressive arts into your program? Are you looking for a way to help students grasp digital color concepts? Check out The Mindful Studio and the RGB/CMY Color Wheel on page 33. Investigating ways to keep content and assignments relevant to students? Find our new PD course, Curricular Considerations in Contemporary Art Education, on page 30. Maybe you’re searching for more widespread visibility for your program. We can help there, too! We offer three avenues to achieve nationwide exposure! Consider writing for SchoolArts magazine, submitting your students’ art for our advocacy guide and monthly planner, or submitting a topic for the K12ArtChat podcast! Learn more at DavisArt.com/Catalog.
As always, we’re focused on making the important work you do VISIBLE so you can focus on teaching!
Welcome to the 2023–24 school year.
Julian Davis Wade, President