Sunday, April 4, 2010

Community Collaboration

Where to even begin. A one page summary, I feel as though I could almost create a page (well, more) long LIST of ideas to involve the community into my art projects. I think this had a great deal to do with the way I was raised, both in my home and in the art room. My parents encouraged creativity at home, and we were always figuring out how to "make things" to pass the time. My art teachers were members of my community that I saw outside of the classroom in high school, so art naturally mixed and melded my community and classroom into one idea.

One thing I really love focusing on whenever I teach art in the community is the idea of bridging generational gaps. I think there is so much potential in integrating the youngest youth with the beautiful silver haired elders of a community. The two have such interesting perspectives on life, and can nurture the other in so many ways. I think far too often we overlook the potential to mix our "classes" up even once we leave the school building yet that is the chance when we have the most freedom to explore without boundaries.

The idea of postcards have really intrigued me for quite some time as an avid traveler. However after my level II field experience last year, a classmate of mine brought up Post Secret and the idea of a mail exchange and I have been hooked on several related ideas ever since. I think one great way to involve members of the community in the art program is to form a pen pal system. Students could write to members of a local club or perhaps retirement/nursing home. They could exchange artwork in the form of a photograph a month, or a drawing, or some other handmade trinket. I grew up in a town that thrived on tourists flocking to see the tulips lining our dutch streets every spring. It always amazed me how much marketing went into such a small little town and how it hosted such a large event. I think students or the pairing of student-community member could really be an excellent place to look for designs for publications. I know there are professionals hired to do those kinds of jobs, but local advertising for a festival created by the youth of the city is something that has great appeal to me; and feels so much more authentic and so much less plastic and commercialized. The Pen Pal system could be set up their freshman year of high school and carry through the four years. They could simply exchange art and thoughts each month/every other month/every semester; but there could also be events and opportunities for them to come together and create a joint piece (ie: advertising for a festival, sponsoring library events, some sort of mass mailing to build awareness about a topic).

My list could go on an on, I could almost virtually take any lesson plan and find a way to make it community based; whether holding a workshop in a public space and invite the community or to bring in members into the classroom... To relate projects to current local events or to spread awareness to the local community about a global issue.. The sky is really the only limit (although incorporating airplanes and flight would be pretty awesome)... Don't get bogged down in the four walls of your classroom.. Remember to look up and look out and around you often and take advantage of the relationships you could form in your community!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ITM 27a.

I found this photo by James Van der Zee that really glamorizes the Harlem renaissance. It shows the couple and the car, extravagant clothing, nice clean neighborhood....Then when I began searching for photos that would "lament" this time period, I thought of the book Amazing Grace and it's vivid descriptions of the reality of the life in the South Bronx. I found the artist Roy DeCavara ( who was known for his photographs of the reality of Harlem. Not to say they didn't contain their own beauty but they also didn't hide aspects of Harlem or try to paint a picture perfect image over top of what existed. This image I felt contrasted the message of the first in a few ways. The scene is noticeably falling apart and filled with debris. Instead of a car, there is a broken down cart, and a billboard of a car, as if it's a dream not quite within reach.
I think this exercise can show how different perspectives see different sides in life... Where people come from.. and it also shows how varied nostalgia can be. What makes one person think of and miss home or a time or place may be different than those details that another person thinks of.

Art Advocacy

"The most important things in life-love,beauty,and one's own uniqueness-are constantly being overlooked. " -Pablo Casals

As I've been looking through some art advocacy websites, and reflecting on class discussions.. I ran across this quote in some searching online and it really struck me. I think the biggest goal of my advocacy will be to keep art (aka the love, beauty, and individual uniqueness of life) from being overlooked. Advocacy does not mean that you are putting paintbrushes in everyones hand and turning our entire world into practicing artists, but it is all about increasing awareness of the art world. As an art educator, I will naturally be in a position to advocate art; to promote art in the community, involving businesses and individuals in my classroom, spreading the art around town, promoting galleries and art shows in the area. It's hard to think of legitimate risks when promoting something you are passionate about, other than risking other people's criticism if they don't agree or believe with the importance of art. If advocating means taking official steps through school boards or city councils for programs, the risk would be not going in prepared-which you should avoid by getting your stuff together and entering in well thought out ideas. I'm enjoying making the advocacy zines in class, and look forward to handing them out. I'm giving a campus tour on the 12th, so I already know of an audience I will be able to share with.. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Community Based Art-Curriculum

When I saw the subject and title of this blog/chapter before reading it, I got really excited. I love involving the community in the classroom. After reading, I realize this community took it to a whole new level by creating their own curriculum. I don't know if I am fully on board, honestly in part because of the work it took to put in place and to see how time could change it as people came and left. (time preparing/implementing=con) However, I did really enjoy the four points the book included as the four major pros: maximizing local resources, developing pride in local community's heritage, creating support for art education, and connecting art with the local culture. Those are huge pros to me, but I feel as though my goals as an art educator involve them within the curriculum I teach. I don't know if developing an entirely new/separate system is necessarily most effective or time efficient. Interesting reading nonetheless...

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Describe an experience you have had with a person who has a disability. How did your interactions with this person change your perspective on teaching?

The first memory that popped into my mind is a collection of memories from my first year in Art Education methods courses two years ago at UNI. There was a student who open enrolled in our class who had a physical disability. Working with a student and peer in a wheelchair opened my mind to accessiblity of supplies aroudn the room, as well as the room layout. Things such as washing his hands, reaching the dry racks, or finding supplies on the shelves in the closet required assistance. I was paired with him for many partner assignments and meetings outside of classtime around campus and the town gave me a new realization of handicap accessibility (or lack there of). We have continued to remain very good friends, but to this day he is unable to visit me where I live because I am on the third floor of a dorm that is not handicap accessible.

The one thing that I absolutely love about this individual however, is how real he is and how alive his passion for art it. He will not let anyone look down on him or expect less than the most creative outlet of artistic ability. My favorite experiences have been painting ceramics at pursuing picasso and comparing sketchbooks. Chapter 10 in Adolescents at School talks about the idea of people with disabilities being considered "eternal children", and how society rarely expects them to grow up, get a job, or get married. I feel guilty to admit it but I too fell into this subconscious perception before I got to know my friend through art classes and now I have repaired my view as I know about his dreams and goals and what he values in life.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to teaching every student and to valuing every student. The chapter in Real-World-Readings was a very interesting concept to me, that of teaching nonvisual learners. I think it would be a challenge but I would welcome the opportunity to push my skills as a teacher and learn to look beyond the visual properties of art. My personal art philosophy has always revolved around the idea that art is about the process, not the product.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Safe Space

I try to hold myself back from responding to every reflection, what-if scenario, or interview question relating back directly to my work as an RA, but it's such an all inclusive job that has influenced me in nearly every situation. I come at this week's blog with the perspective of someone who has been in the role of being in charge of/guiding/mentoring groups of 30-50 young females in the dorms. I have had students come and share many confidential things with me, and thus my best guesses as to how i'd handle things in the classroom is a result of how I have dealt with situations in the past.

If a student "came out" to me, I would first thank them for trusting me and reassuring them that what they told me would not be repeated to others without their permission. I would ask them if there was anything i could do for them to support them, classroom atmosphere etc.. If the student hadn't come out to their family and friends, I would suggest they consider why they hadn't, and how they could come to the point of being open to that idea in order to be honest with the most important people in their life. Depending on the school or community, I could ask or recommend counseling if the student was interested, if they wanted to share with someone else.

As far as making sure my art room was a safe space, I would encourage students to carry themselves with an attitude of acceptance. In the dorms, I have done a lot of passive programming (bulletin boards, bathroom stall fliers etc) that educate students on how to use accepting language and how to avoid offending someone-intentionally or accidentally). Hanging a safe space sign could help students identify me as someone they can trust (interesting side note, the Department of Residence at UNI offers training sessions on safe space allies, but they created their own logo...I don't know if it was part of a national trend? but perhaps the pink triangle is changing? does anyone know?). In the chapter we read for this topic, there were many instances of teachers not defending students, or stopping offensive language or behavior. I would hope that I would never fall into that behavior myself and that I would stop harassment if/when it occurred in my presence, classroom, or school.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Through extensive traveling in central and south America, I have often experienced the feeling of being the minority. I'm considered a blond in Chile and stick out like a sore thumb, I've had vendors insist on communicating with me in their very poor broken English because they couldn't fathom my ability to speak Spanish, and I have felt the attention of a pale skinned young woman in a Latino community.

However the time in my life that has stuck with me the most as being treated differently or with less respect occurred on my beloved UNI campus. I am a resident assistant on campus, and hold this title with pride. Part of our job includes being health aids, so I am and have been certified in health aid and CPR for 3 years. I am trained to respond to medical emergencies in a variety of settings.

One day I was studying in the tables upstairs in Maucker Union when I noticed strange behavior from a woman in the CME. She did not appear responsive, and as someone tapped on her shoulder I knew medical help was needed. I tried to come to the aid of this worker, who clearly did not have training and did not know what to do. Quickly a group of adults appeared, called 911 and began to try to figure out what to do with this woman. I tried repeatedly to tell them the appropriate steps to care for her and place her to get blood pumping but everyone was in a panic and ushered me out saying that "the adults have it under control" and "we don't need to create a spectacle".

I was infuriated that they would not listen to me due to their conception that as a youth I could not possibly know how to help, even though I had repeatedly told them I was certified. I was kept at bay outside of the office space until paramedics arrived and immediately wrapped her in a blanket, and had her lay down on the couch, just as I had been trying to direct the adults to do.

Luckily the situation was not dangerously serious, and the medics were able to help her. However that day I felt completely undervalued as a young person and felt a great deal of indignation and anger that they had incorrectly judged me. This was discrimination based on age, and has not been ongoing in my life, nor is it the harshest example I have heard of, but it provoked the upset emotions of discrimination that are vivid to me to this day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Artist Trading Cards

I grew up as an avid NBA card collector. My show and tell in 5th grade made all the boys jealous. Last semester I started reclaiming the hundreds of cards I had stored away; using them as a surface to print on. Now, I have eons of cool, altered, ex-NBA, now-ARTier, cards that make a great starting point for ATCs. Each one has a little piece of me; especially the most recent addition of the King Tut card. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 4: scoping an audience lesson plan

Of the various scenarios and concepts present in the scoping the audience section of In the Making,1.h "Relating to the Audience: Indignation"stands out as the activity I have chosen. It discusses leaving behind art making that is strictly comforting and pleasant to look at and rather to delve into issues and topics that are unsettling or downright outrageous. I would encourage my students to look into current events; through magazines, newspapers etc. and find a story that evokes a strong emotion to them. Once they have considered, and written down how the story makes them feel, they would make a work of art that reflects those feelings in tandem with the issue that "warants inciting indignation". At this point, I believe it would be interesting to have them create mixed media collage that could incorporate images or text from new sources as well as their own personal drawing and color theory in the form or paint or print or however they feel they can best evoke the feelings of indignation.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

ITM: Crafting an Artistic "Self"

3.a: I feel guilty when I go against my conscience or when others hurt because of something I did or said. Making a difference in the lives of others and seeing my hard work pay off makes me feel worthy. Nearly anything can make me laugh, sometimes too many things sometimes at the wrong times. I am embarrassed when my feelings are exposed and not understood. Blatant ignorance and refusal to educate oneself as well as social injustices infuriate me. Roller coasters and haunted houses thrill me, in the wrong way; hearing that I am loved thrills my heart. My faith and family comfort me; along with a good hug. I am sad when those around me are hurting or when I take a risk and fail.

3.b: Words that describe me from the list: assertive, idiosyncratic, playful, joyful, truthful, courageous, variable, daring, progressive, opinionated but open-minded, humorous, maverick, believer, optimist, idealist, forced at times to be a realist, coy, ambitious, stimulating, determined, group-centered, relaxed, confident.

3.c: self-identification:
*family: daughter, sister, grand-daughter etc. very significant in my life
gender: female
*education: will be college graduate. significant in my life
sexual orientation: heterosexual
nationhood: United States citizen; I value my rights...
neighborhood:...? I currently work as a resident assistant in my dorm; I value my community..
race: Caucasian
body type: This is just getting odd.
preferred leisure activity: I would hope talking counts, going for walks, tennis...
political beliefs: everyone has certain unalienable rights that should never be denied to them
*religious affiliation: I believe in the love of God; core part of my identity
state of health: gracias a Dios, I've never had glasses, braces, or a broken bone and I am in good health
economic status: I have what I need, I need what I have
age: 22
generational identity: ? maybe I don't understand my identity?
marital status: single
diet: ...I like food?... especially guacamole.. but I'd never dream of dieting ...
preferred websites: reggaeton radio stations, facebook and gmail, La Estrella...I try not to spend much time online (unsuccessfully)
taste in music: hippie indie acoustic chill music
taste in fashion: I shop at Goodwill and prefer to layer handme downs and buy bargains in earthy tones
taste in art: I really love my students' work, and seeing different print artists' creations.

Artist Identity: From High School to Undergrad

As a high schooler, I was generally known for being an artist, and often called upon for pep rallies/productions/spirit competitions etc. I really enjoyed making things, and really stuck to creating the projects presented in my art classes. Of course, I always continued to paint and create outside of the classroom at home, but I feel as if I clung to familiar methods of art making that I had been exposed to. (Admittedly some projects came from HGTV too.) I feel the greatest shift I have made as an artist in undergrad is a wider perception of possibility. I now see every new material I encounter as a challenge to incorporate into art; I invent methods of art making that while grounded in essential basics, deviate from the typical traditional alleys of art making. My artwork has gradually turned into authentic self expression; rather than dealing with surface level pieces of my personality, I have finally learned to delve in deeper to show things about me not as readily apparent. Honestly, this truly came to full reality just last semester, 3/4 of the way through my undergrad career. I feel it will continue to evolve as my life and passions evolve throughout my life.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scoping an Audience: Will Schade

Ironically enough, I selected Will Schade from the list because the title made me smile "Instilling Confidence, Inspiring Laughter"; then I read his bio and found out he has an MA in Printmaking from the State University of New York at Albany. Destiny.

Sadly enough, the first article I found in looking a little further for info on him was his obituary from fall 2008. He had been a professor at Sage College and passed away from Parkinson's disease.

In the Making connects him to Robert Arneson (right) as having funk art characteristics. Schade was known for his bizarre humor and twists on important/historical/biblical stories and scenarios in his art. He was also dyslexic and embraced this part of himself, displaying it boldly in order to allow the viewer to get a good guilt-free laugh when looking at his art.

In The Making: Inter-Historical Comparisons:

8a) Satire in art commonly takes the form of social satire, not self-satire. How does the work of self-satirists differ from the work of social satirists like George Grosz? Are Grosz's social critiques humorous?

Part of the answer to the first question lies in the second; Schade's work is meant to make the viewer laugh and he uses his own deficiencies as partial source for this satirical humor. Grosz's artwork comments more on his own life, the society he lived in (much relates to Hitler and the Nazis). His humor is more bitter and is not actually created to cause laughter; rather a way to make viewers think twice about the subject matter.

8b) Compare one work by Schade and one by Arneson to three artworks that are not self-satires but instead were created to convey self-respectability, self-idealization, and self-aggrandizement.

The above two artworks by Schade and Arneson differ from the bottom three in that they are whimsical and aim to produce laughter at the silly and absurd. Schade employs the use of his child-like handwriting and misspellings to boost the viewers ego of being better than that and finding humor while Arneson's subject matter is just plain laughable. Other artists however, create a sense of respect and dignity for the artist. I found a show from the National Gallery in London entitled "Rebels and Martyrs", full of works by artists absorbed in the idea of themselves. Three pieces are shown below that were in the exhibit and demonstrate a different personality and mentality of artists and how they view themselves (embracing imperfections or being blind to any possible weaknesses). I have a great respect for artists who don't take themselves too seriously and acknowledge their personal limitations and enjoy getting a laugh out of the viewer, evoking a playful emotion that runs in opposition to the classical view that artwork is very serious and hung in a gallery and must be pondered from a safe 3 feet distance in complete silence.

Article/Review of Exhibition:

'Eugene Delacoix's mammoth Ovid Among the Scythians shows "the artist in exile, surrounded by barbarian hordes who didn't understand him"...'

Death of Chatterton by Henry Wallis

Pissaro's Portrait of Paul Cezanne

week 2.b: Art Educator + Artist

I have often thought that being an art education major has guided my art-making to more practical, functional, recycled, low-budget art projects. I can't help but think about how to reuse materials that others would throw away or how to try certain printmaking processes in more accessible ways in the absence of important or "essential" tools. Perhaps it's the already present budget fear in my mind, or perhaps that is just part of the thrifty, goodwill shopping artist I am. However I think that my style of art making will (and has already) benefited me a great deal as an art educator because I am constantly looking for more than one way to solve a problem or complete a project and I enjoy the challenge of working with what I have on hand rather that gathering more supplies in to finish a project. Last semester we were required to put aside studio time each week to produce our own art. Initially I grumbled and protested at the absurdity, "I'm a full time student" "I already have hours of homework every day" "I had to work last night".. but then I slowly realized that those excuses are exactly why we were forced to try to start that habit. Soon enough my complaints will turn into "I have to grade projects" "I am exhausted from a long day with my crazy students" and "I have parent teacher conferences tomorrow night". Unless those habits of dedicating time to my personal art making begins now, or it will be impossible to keep up with as a full time teacher. I think it is very powerful to show students your own artwork; to validate the idea of a life long artist. I will never forget the time my senior year when my 2D teacher took myself and another student in independent art to show us his home that he was remodeling. He had constructed his own stained glass windows for the new room, and then showed us his potters wheel and personal studio. To show my students that I too have studied what they are learning and I am continually finding new ways to use those skills in new forms and media is a very special way to reach them. I believe the relationship between teaching art and art making should travel side by side and hand in hand. Continually creating art will continue to present new obstacles to solve, new ideas to try in the classroom, and will serve (as always for me) as a way to express and release emotions I otherwise would bottle up.

week 2: what makes quality art curriculum?

What makes a quality art curriculum? What ideas did you take from the articles and chapter 9 to help you develop it?

The readings together with hands on experience have come to the conclusion that art can miss its mark and target of making an impact in the lives of students if they can not relate. Art curriculum needs to be filled with fresh, relevant, current issues and artists; just as importantly as art history needs to play a foundational role. It is easy to stick to lessons we have done as students, observed in field experience, or taught ourselves before, but teaching the same lessons over and over can lead to more than one problem. First, it fails to incorporate new trends in our society that students may very well be interested in. Second, we fail to continue to push ourselves as art educators, as students ourselves, as life long learners. If we never try anything new, we never expand our own horizons as we so often demand of our students. Lastly, using the same lessons over and over will quite simply become boring. It will bore us as teachers, and our students will sense that boredom in place of the energy and enthusiasm we should bring with new lessons and they in turn will become bored. I personally like the challenge of finding a contemporary artist as well as a historical reference for every lesson I may teach. It's not something I have tested myself with in the past, but I think I will try moving forward now. Art history is important to see where we've come from, and contemporary art shows us where we are. Instead of choosing one or the other, think of how much more interesting the lesson would be if we used both and discussed how we got from history to today. My favorite reminder from chapter 9 was to contextualize the lesson historically, and rationalize why you are teaching it. If you can produce strong answers to both, then you should have a strong lesson to share with your students.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blog Numero Uno

Think about your experiences in high school, how do you think your past experiences may influence your expectations about high school students? What kind of high school student were you? What fears do you have about working with high school students? What do you think you will learn? What are you most excited about?

My family moved towns during my high school career, between freshman and sophomore years. For me, art was my rock and my constant that helped me transition and find my place in a new school. My art teachers of three years at my second school had high expectations for me. I moved in late as a sophomore and registered late, so ended up in the senior advanced 2D class my first semester. It was in this class I discovered my love for printmaking. I was a responsible, fairly focused high school student. I worked hard to create quality art, was heavily involved in activities and leadership roles in and out of the classroom. By my senior year I had taken so many classes that I had two periods a day for "senior study" in the art room which consisted of sitting in on classes and working independently on my own projects. My biggest fears for teaching secondary art involve dealing with students that sat across from in my drawing class junior year; students who were unmotivated and did not care about their education or future. I wonder how I will combat apathy in the art room; and how I will build a program that dispels the stereotype that art classes are "easy A's". I think I will learn a great deal from my future students, though it is hard to tell just what until I am in the moment working along side them. I am excited to find streams of passion and interests in my students; and to help them dream of the future and how art will play a role in their life. I am excited at the prospect of traveling abroad to teach and continuing to learn about art in other cultures and to spread an appreciation for the power art has.

Artwork above was created fall 2009; examples of my prints and stationary sets. My art currently deals with organic plant-like forms and the print at the bottom is entitled Bitter Beauty; to this day I personally use art to work through everyday emotional,mental,social issues I encounter; as my therapy.