April 2019

Interpretation

Art teachers highlight the value of art interpretation and art criticism in their curriculum. High-school students use birdhouses as any entry point for narrating their personal journeys; elementary students incorporate famous artists into their selfies; middle-school students use water-soluble oils for the first time; and more.

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Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

Do you find that your students are open to interpretation? Are they open to being art critics about their own and other works of art? When initially introduced to art criticism, some may associate negative connotations with the word “criticism.”  Art criticism, in practice, though, is generally positive and focuses on interpretation.

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Constructing an Appalachian Alphabet
Early Childhood

Constructing an Appalachian Alphabet

The Appalachian Alphabet project grew out of my desire to address the literacy issues I saw in many of the children. Often younger children in our program were disinterested in books, and it was not unusual for the eight- to seventeen-year-olds to tell me they couldn’t read. The children seemed inspired to address this problem.

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Abstract Mark Making
Elementary

Abstract Mark Making

I was first introduced to artist and dancer Heather Hansen by my former classmate and later by my student teacher. Both of these women are phenomenal art teachers and provide great examples of contemporary art in their classrooms. Each had approached interpreting and teaching Hansen in different ways, and I decided to put my own spin on the artist to add something new to my third-grade curriculum.

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Artist-Inspired Selfies
Elementary

Artist-Inspired Selfies

We often think of teenagers, as well as adults, standing awkwardly in front of their phone trying to get the perfect shot. A selfie is defined as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone, and shared on social media. Thinking about our student population and their obsession with technology (as well as themselves), I thought, why not make a lesson out of this?

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Risk-Taking, Scaffolding & Team Building
Middle School

Risk-Taking, Scaffolding & Team Building

We emphasize collaboration along with the eight Studio Habits of Mind right from the start. We encourage open dialogue and positive feedback for students to engage, persist, and reflect on their own process. This three-part project is a journey into months of intensive risk-taking, team building, and scaffolding with exceptional seventh-grade art students.

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Amazing Animal Eyes
Middle School

Amazing Animal Eyes

In my Studio Art class, we always take on a painting unit immediately after our drawing unit. By this time, students have an understanding of value shading and rendering and look forward to working with color. A few years, back, I decided to have my students use water-soluble oils instead of acrylic paint.

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Here We Make Our Home
High School

Here We Make Our Home

Here We Make Our Home encouraged and challenged young adults to learn about who they are, research their cultural heritage, and share their views and beliefs in what it means to be of African American, Hispanic, Asian, or European descent living in the United States of America.

 

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Innovation & Interpretation
High School

Innovation & Interpretation

I think all teachers would agree the ultimate goal of any art project, aside from refining technique, is to encourage students to cultivate a unique voice that challenges the viewer. How do you help foster this mind-set? What tools do they need to become master art idea builders? If you want students to see the importance in their ideas and the interpretive value it add to the viewers’ experience, you must help them prepare and value the process.

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Amy Sherald: Blending Portraiture and Politics
All Levels

Amy Sherald: Blending Portraiture and Politics

Amy Sherald is a Baltimore based artist acclaimed for her striking portraits of contemporary African Americans. She is known for painting skin tones in gray scale as a way of countering the association of color with race. Writing in the New York Times, Holland Carter explained that Sherald “gives all her figures gray-toned skin—a color with ambiguous racial associations—and reduces bodies to geometric forms silhouetted against single-color fields.”

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Jennifer
Looking & Learning

Jennifer "Vinegar" Avery: Joyful Chaos

Jennifer “Vinegar” Avery constructs elaborate installations that combine sculpture, textile art, performance art, relational (or interactive) art, and audience participation. This approach reflects the blurring or outright removal of boundaries between media and art forms that exemplifies cutting-edge contemporary art. However, unlike some contemporary artists, Avery rejects pretention while embracing humor, playfulness, and a chance to create a joyful chaos.

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