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.