This is a challenging time for art educators as states practice social distancing, close schools, and recommend staying home. As I write this, we don’t know what will happen this fall, but I know we will persevere.
Despite the hardships, I’ve been exceedingly impressed by the dedication and generosity of art teachers evident on the internet. Many of you had little or no warning that your schools were closing, so you didn’t have time to prepare yourselves or your students. But, facing the challenges head-on, you are now supporting each other, sharing ideas and lessons, building new communities, and presenting online professional development. I am so proud of our art education community!
Two new free Facebook communities appeared almost immediately in March of this year: Online Art Teachers K–12 (more than 12,000 members) and Online Art & Design Studio Instruction in the Age of Social Distancing (for art and design higher-ed teachers, more than 14,000 members). In just four months, both groups attracted an incredible number of members, demonstrating the immediate need for teachers to change everything they normally do at school to reach students without access to art materials and technology at home. On these sites and others, teachers have been generous in sharing with other educators and providing lessons, advice, and encouragement.
Starting with this issue of SchoolArts, we’ve added a department on “quaranteaching” to give voice to art teachers sharing their ideas, challenges, and successes in teaching remotely. We’ll also be sharing effective online efforts such as found-object color wheels (see Snapshots, p. 47) and virtual exhibitions. Interestingly, many of the lessons teachers are using would be difficult to do in the art room. Choicebased teaching is really going to shine here, and teaching remotely will encourage collaboration within the household as well. Families are learning along with their children.
A huge thank-you goes to Eric Gibbons for serving as coeditor for this issue. A long-time contributor to SchoolArts, Eric has been instrumental in encouraging teachers to write for this issue and incredibly generous in sharing his work with the online community of art teachers.
Since the theme of this issue is community, I want to share with you the staff of SchoolArts, our own little community. The image on this page shows our volume year planning meeting, conducted for the first time remotely via Zoom. We are all here to help you!