“When we hosted a school art fair, we had students who when viewing the full schools completed and displayed art stated “it’s like a museum!” and when we probed that statement it was because they hadn’t had the opportunity to visit a museum. This display factor and community event factor has been lost during the pandemic – what are the ways we can bring it forward while we’re at home?”
Thank you for the question. It is wonderful that your school is already engaged in community arts practices! The reaction from your students really speaks to the value of arts education. Although being at home can present some unusual challenges, I think there is still opportunity to share students’ creative work and engage in community events.
Below, I have suggested some creative ways for students to share artwork with each other and the community from home. I also reached out to a visual artist colleague of mine who works in partnerships with schools to see what they are doing and have added her suggestions. I am not sure of the grades you teach, however, the suggestions below can be adapted for any grade.
- Facilitate regular opportunities for community building activities and shared creating time in the classroom. Playing background music, for example, can be inspirational, and especially online, helps to bring the artists together in a shared space. If break out rooms are available, you may pair or group students to create collectively and collaboratively.
- Host live, virtual “gallery walks” where students have an opportunity to share and speak about their artwork not unlike they would do in the classroom (prepared or Q&A style). If the art is three dimensional (such as found object or recyclable structures) and the students have the ability to walk their cameras around for different points of view, this could be an added dimension. For those students who may be less comfortable on camera, they could have their artwork fill the screen and speak behind it or even use the chat function to share their thoughts and engage in conversation.
- Ask students to take photos of their finished creations. These photos can be compiled into a slide show or shared in a Google drive. They can then be shared from class to class. And, if it is possible in the platform you use, students really enjoy sharing their artwork as virtual backgrounds!
- Use a collaborative platform such as Padlet (https://padlet.com) to devise and share work.
- Use a graphic design program like Canva (https://www.canva.com) to create video presentations of student artwork. It is a user-friendly graphic design program that has free version for the classroom. Once presentations are created, they can be transferred into iMovie to add voice over (artists statements etc.) and record music, creating a pre-recorded gallery tour to be shared with family and peers.
- Host a live family event – similar to the gallery tour above, students can share their work live or with a slide-show or video. Consider hosting a live Q&A at the end for the audience to ask questions directly to the artists!
Many teachers are displaying work -perhaps even more frequently. With the use of collaborative digital tools teachers are creating virtual galleries to share art with students and families. For example, a digital slideshow. Digital tools allow students to not only showcase products, but process as well. Multimodal and mixed media work is now easier to share. Historically, only traditional, 2-D work could be exhibited on school walls. Students who create digitally (video, photography, animation, earth arts, etc) are able to share their multimodal creations that, in the past, may not have been as easy to share. Students can also use audio files to explain their work instead of just a written artist statement. With the use of platforms such as YouTube virtual art shows were continued in a live stream or pre-recorded fashion.
Additionally, while students could not physically visit gallery spaces, many galleries created virtual opportunities. This eliminated traditional barriers such as transportation time and cost, and made this spaces more accessible. It also gave students choice of where & what they wanted to see as opposed to it being predetermined by the teacher.
George Vellathottam (he/him/his)