Art Show Mania!
Art shows! There is so much that comes along with preparing for an art show. Even though my co-workers can find me in the hallways frequently hanging up new art projects throughout the school year, my mind is constantly on what will be hanging for Fine Arts Night in March, what artwork I can submit for the City Hall Art show, and what can I do differently next year to help me better prepare. It can be messy, stressful, time consuming, and frustrating all at the same time. And honestly, I haven’t found a way to better prepare myself. I try to do different projects each year which require different preparation. Even though overwhelming emotions can come from it, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences as an art teacher. Seeing the reactions from co-workers, the students, and their families reassures me that I am appreciated and my job of educating students about the arts has been accomplished.
So what all does it take, you ask? SO MUCH. But I’ll give you the basics…
Art Show Prep
The first step that I take when preparing for an art show is to make sure I have artwork representing each grade level. It’s important to showcase what each grade level has created over the course of a school year. I choose 1-2 projects from each grade level to display, something unique and new, a project that I’ve never done before.
Next, I begin to think about where each grouping will be hung and how to display. This seems like such an easy step, but I take my time when thinking about the placement for each piece and where it will look its best. When the artwork is displayed, I always include a descriptor with each project, describing the artist and the artwork that inspired the project. I feel that this is important for viewers because not everyone has background knowledge on the visual arts.
Last, I go through each class bin and take out projects that will be displayed. This can be stressful because eventually I run out of space in my classroom! During art show time, you can always find stacks of art in each corner of my room. Once I have pulled all of the pieces I need, the beautiful artwork fills the hallways and the gymnasium, ready to be viewed on Fine Arts Night, my favorite night of the school year!
Let’s skip the clean-up aftermath…
This year’s Fine Arts Nights was one of the best for me as an art teacher. I displayed new art projects, recruited students to help me prepare, and received a ton of support from parents and co-workers. I believe the highlight of the show this year was all of the clay projects that were included. This was something new that I had never done. My fourth graders created beautiful clay pots. My fifth graders created colorful impression bowls, and my sixth graders created clay food such as cookies, pizza, tacos and burritos. The clay projects are everyone’s favorite, but not everyone gets to see how creative my students can be with three-dimensional artwork. This school year has been full of new ideas, projects, and experiences. I believe that on Fine Arts Nigh,t it confirmed that this school year and many professional choices were a success.
Art shows can definitely be crazy, but it is the greatest time to show everyone what your students have learned and how they’ve grown artistically as artist, but also how I have grown as an art educator.