PD Report by Rebecca Kostich
Click "Read More" to learn more about my experience at the conference!
One of the most informative sessions I went to was "De(Re)constructing the Studio Process," which explored how to "deepen engagement with artmaking to unlock creativity, stimulate imagination, and generate innovative thinking while keeping currency with Contemporary Art & Art Education." We were introduced to new contemporary artists, lesson plans, and exercises that we could use in our classroom to promote and enhance creative problem solving. A new activity I learned about was to ask my students to use a material in a different way. For example, they know how to use charcoal, but how could they use it in a different way?
Below are two artists that were introduced to us: Dustin Yellin, who makes "window sandwiches," and Hal Lasko, the pixel painter who discovered his style later in life.
During the conference, I found that there was a strong emphasis on the difference between technical and conceptual artmaking. While both are important and overlap, students are often discouraged with their own art because they only focus on their technical abilities and the traditional way of learning art through direct observation. A classroom that focuses primarily on technical skill is limiting and hinders creative thought. But as teachers, we also need to encourage students' creative abilities just as much as (or even more than, according to some) technical skill.
I attended a session on the National Art Honor Society, where I got a lot of new ideas about community projects and fundraisers that we could do in our own NAHS this year. I am excited to discuss these new ideas with my NAHS officers.
One session I did not go to (but wish I had) was a sketchbook workshop with Mr. and Mrs. Barry from Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham. I spent a day observing their art program last year - I got a lot of ideas from them, including the information necessary to start our own National Art Honor Society! In the workshop, Mr. Barry demonstrated how his students make their own sketchbooks. I remembered seeing some of the students' examples during my visit last year. Even though I didn't attend the session, I spoke with Mr. Barry about how to make the sketchbooks, and I think these handmade sketchbooks would be something I'd like to implement into the Studio Art III, IV and V curriculum in the near future.
I went to the reception of the annual regional National Art Honor Society show, "Navigating the Imagination," where three of my students were featured!
Haley Ashburn's "Splash" made the front page of the Groton Herald this week!!
Finally, I took a tour of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and saw the work of several artists, most notably Jim Shaw and Clifford Ross. I enjoyed Ross' work, which was inspired by mountainous and oceanic landscapes (my favorite was a piece that covered an entire wall, pictured below), and Shaw's work would appeal to my students who are interested in character design, game design, and comic art.
I am already looking forward to the 2016 conference next fall!
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About Kostich Art
Rebecca Kostich is an art teacher at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School in Groton, MA.