Editor's Letter: Connections

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jan 1, 2019

The Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, the country’s largest and oldest recycled art market, is held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center every November. It is dedicated to showcasing art created from discarded materials; all the art entered must be made from a minimum of 75 percent recycled materials. The festival kicks off with a highly popular Trash Fashion and Costume Contest, but my favorite part is the artwork and displays contributed by local schools. I’m standing in front of one of these displays in the photo above. I’m always amazed by the ingenuity, originality, and effort displayed in these works.

Nancy at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival among the elementary-level exhibits.

It’s easy to see the connections between art, science, and engineering that are evidenced in these works from both adult and student artists. The students created their artworks through what can be seen as exemplary science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) lessons. But STEAM is just one approach to making meaningful interdisciplinary connections to different disciplines through art. Arts integration and project-based learning are others you may know of.

Why is art at the center of all of these? I believe it is because art is engaging and all-encompassing—a universal language understood without words, and a reflection of our human commonalities. Art teachers know this more than anyone and are in the best position to teach it.

Many thanks for work on this issue go to guest co-editor Andrew D. Watson, fine arts instructional specialist for Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia, for his co-editor’s letter and article, Building a STEAMy Stop- Motion with Design Thinking. His experience and expertise contribute greatly to our content this month.

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View this article in the digital edition.