The first year I taught Art, I decided the Art program needed a school art show. The school art show was held near the end of the school year. It was a lot of work and took a lot of planning, but to me the teaching and learning experiences were well worth the effort. Here are the reasons why I organized a school art show each year:
- To give students a goal to work towards. Because students knew at the beginning of the year there would be a show, students saved all their work and were always thinking about what would be a good entry.
- To reward students with a change of pace. For a few days, class time was spent matting work, making labels, placing art work on panels, and hanging the panels. Some students typed labels, some matted artwork, some taped work into place, and some designed an art show program. The show was a group effort.
- To promote the art program in the school and community. The art show was hung in the hallways of the school for all to see and the results of the show were printed in the local newspaper.
- To give students a chance to show pride in their work.
- To get parent and community involved. Parents and the local community were invited to a reception where the awards were announced and refreshments served.
- To give students a chance to judge artwork using specified instructions. A day of class was spent going over what makes a piece of artwork successful and the different methods for judgment.
- To teach students good sportsmanship. This was a tough one because students sometimes get jealous or confused as to why one person’s work won over another’s. So, I required students to judge the show for a grade. As a class, we made a list of all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners the student came up with. This made for a great discussion because the chosen winners were all over the place. Students could see how opinion played into judging. I also had students practice complimenting student’s work and congratulating each other just for entering the show.
- To teach students graciousness. Art show winners were given names and addresses of sponsors of the art show awards and were asked to write “thank you” notes.
- To help students build a portfolio. Students learned to save their work.
- To acknowledge students as artists. You wouldn’t believe how proud the students were to see their artwork displayed with a label that said “ARTIST” and their name on it.
- To allow non-art students to get involved. The school art show was open to any student in the school.
- To give students a chance to think of their work in a different manner. Students were required to title their work as well as choose a colored mat.
- To encourage students to continue creating artwork. This was done by getting art supplies donated as top prizes and giving out 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention ribbons.
- To help students improve their grade. Each student received a 100 for a test grade when they entered the show. Believe or not, I still had students that did not want to enter the show. I usually bugged the student until they gave in and entered something. I kept a file of students work. When the student said they had nothing to enter, I went to the file and pulled something out.
I enjoyed the school art show each year. I hope my students did.
Have any art show stories or experiences?