Thursday, May 9, 2013

K-12 Art Teaching and Magical Thinking

I've been getting works ready for the "Those who teach, can" exhibition at Indigo Artist Coop in Champaign, Illinois, May 10 - 18, 2013. Opening reception, Friday May 10, 6 - 9 p.m.

For one of my works, I selected 16 images from over 200 pictures that I took on my iPhone4 documenting some of my experiences teaching Art Survey 1 at Centennial High School during the 2012-2013 school year. My idea here is to convey a sense of a “year in the life of a high school art teacher”. As I took each of the pictures appearing in this series, I shared my favorite ones on Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram; and I even Tweeted some of them to my friends in Twitter. My iPhone camera roll (now totaling over 3000 images) is filled with these kinds of photographs, along with shots of family, friends, events, sunsets, my garden, favorite personal objects, and some creative explorations with various photography apps. I originally thought to exhibit these in a grid, similar to how I see them on my iPhone in my Instagram app.

But then, I decided to exhibit them on a timeline in order to better convey the "year in the life of an art teacher" idea. I took a quick snapshot yesterday as we finished the installation and posted it to Instagram.

There is something both ordinary and extraordinary about all of this…about visually capturing and sharing experiences so easily through digital and social media, about printing ones own photographs and presenting them for public viewing in an art gallery, about working with like-minded colleagues in our endeavors to make art with creative young people, and about being an art educator with a mission to make a difference in the lives of others. I have always thought K-12 art teachers to be people who engage in a bit of “magical thinking” when it comes to what exactly it is we do, and all I can say about that is “please let there be more magical people in the world!

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