Teaching Art || The Art Exhibit as a Teaching Tool

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<ul><li><p>National Art Education Association</p><p>The Art Exhibit as a Teaching ToolAuthor(s): George SzekelySource: Art Education, Vol. 41, No. 1, Teaching Art (Jan., 1988), pp. 9-17Published by: National Art Education AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3194130 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 22:36</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>National Art Education Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to ArtEducation.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=naeahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/3194130?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>George Szekely </p><p>The Art . .I </p><p>Exhibit as? a </p><p>Teaching Tool </p><p>D iuring my early teaching days in Staten Island, New York, I began my first art classes with a drawing trip on the Staten Island ferry. I found that my elementary </p><p>students with serious doubts about their creativity gained incredible confidence when asked to work on the ferry among the curious crowds. They began to feel and talk like artists, fitting easily into a role that may have remained a wistful dream if they had never stepped out of the classroom. </p><p>For the past 12 years I have exhibited in the Soho </p><p>district of New York City and become ever more convinced of the value of exhibiting to an artist's development. And feeling that students must identify themselves as artists to fully develop their potential, I have increasingly employed the art exhibit as a teaching tool. The values of exhibiting are many. </p><p>Any artist will tell you that hanging works informally in the studio intensifies the important process of learning from one's creations. Continuously viewing completed works allows artists to understand their present position and move confidently toward new ideas and their </p><p>Art Education/January 1988 9 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>0- </p><p>0 </p><p>C- </p><p>5 </p><p>ti </p><p>I'll </p><p>-1 </p><p>p 00 00 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>expression. Further understanding occurs while planning an </p><p>exhibit. As a statement to the public, an exhibit requires the conceptualizing of one's work to create a suitable environment for it. In making preparations, an artist sees the work not only as its creator, but as a potential audience might. </p><p>The actual viewing of an exhibit completes the learning process, as creations are not finished in the artist's mind until they are presented to an audience. Displaying makes the art a communication and therefore complete. </p><p>Being convinced of the value of exhibits for artist and student alike, I have organized three programs in central Kentucky to demonstrate their value to school children. The first is a gallery internship program in which students take part in the preparation of gallery and museum exhibits by professional artists. The second is a program that encourages each student to consider a designated space as his or her own gallery in which to mount a series of exhibits. The third is a program of assistance and support to creative art exhibits in the schools. The Gallery Internship Program This program dates from 1983 and involves students as young as fourth graders. When possible, students visit an artist's studio to observe the way he or she rediscovers his/her work in preparing it for showing. The process goes something like this: </p><p>The artist selects for exhibiting the works which best represent his/her ideas to date. She/he then experiments with various arrangements to determine the most advantageous. The works are framed, and brochures and publicity statements prepared, wherein she/he clarifies his or her perception of the work and ideas. </p><p>New insight is gained as the works are moved into a gallery. As a much larger quantity is assembled than will be exhibited, the selection process begins again, this time including gallery staff. Consideration is given to architectural details such as floor and wall space, and the eye level of viewers. </p><p>Each detail of the process broadens the artist's understanding of his or her work. Even the color of the food to be served at the reception becomes a part of the selection process. The student, in turn, enlarges his or her perspective. The Gallery Owners' Program Each student in my classes is responsible for a designated </p><p>Opposite page: Scrutinizing lines and shapes with a plastic lens. Above: Mirrors used to reflect on the artist's ideas. </p><p>Art Education/January 1988 11 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>space in school in which to exhibit original work, collections of art objects, or guest exhibits. Preparing each show is a learning process, with feedback from other gallery owners and the teacher. </p><p>The student selects the work to be exhibited, develops an overall theme for the show, and decides on the best arrangement for viewing. She/he gains further insight into his or her work while preparing press releases, brochures, and catalogs. She/he may even produce a tape recording to accompany the show, or take Polaroid pictures to complete a press kit. </p><p>Throughout this process, in addition to gaining an appreciation of their personal style, students learn to interest, involve, and effectively communicate with the public. </p><p>Often this is accomplished through playful innovations. Audiences have been asked to view works upside down, while walking backwards, spinning around, skipping on one foot, etc. Unusual props have included colored glasses, binoculars, and flashlights for viewing in the dark. </p><p>Feedback from the audience is a sure source of ideas for the young artist/gallery owner. Often a single sympathetic or unusual comment is an incentive to keep developing his or her creativity. </p><p>While the gallery owner plays his or her role, other students in the class pose as newspaper reviewers, art collectors or museum guards. </p><p>Sometimes the student viewers are asked to remake the works or create summary versions of what they see. They may execute their own versions by tracing, redrawing on Etch-a-Sketch pads, or even sculpting their impression of an exhibited work. </p><p>At the end of the show, the student may make changes in the works, or may even make them during the show (an impulse many professionals yield to). As the memories created by a formal exhibit are slower to fade than those of a single work, they provide an ongoing stimulus to creating more and better work and planning another show. </p><p>In some classes, the galleries are only scale models, designed for miniature exhibits. The value of such a "show in a box" is to allow students to incorporate their ideas in a productive fantasy, which exercises much the same creative forces as are employed in a real life exhibit. </p><p>12 Art Education/January 1988 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>C 8861 jnuef /uotlvanp3 uV </p><p>?)!q!qxa ol asuodsai B SuB Uq!las-o-q,lp) I </p><p>lp-- -_ - - .. . </p><p>wel" _o. 1 </p><p>{ -A o 1 . . </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Shoeboxes used to dis- play art. Below: Ped- estal ideas used to dis- play art works. </p><p>The Unusual Exhibit Support Program This program has, during the past five years, supported a variety of unusual exhibits in Kentucky schools modeled on the Gallery Owners Program. The following describes some of the many novel ideas developed by gallery owners. </p><p>Some of the exhibits were built on unusual themes, such as computer art, art made with toys, art on bedsheets, tablecloths or floor tiles. Others included the sources of inspiration or preparation techniques. For example, one "print show" included the plates, rollers, and mixing trays used to create the work. Multi-arts exhibits were created, in which the works were accompanied by music, reflected on by dance, or explained through poetry. </p><p>Some exhibitors employed unusual display spaces, such as: under a tent, under umbrellas and parachutes, inside a file cabinet, and inside china cups. One format involved portable exhibits, which might be displayed on sandwich boards, attached to broom sticks, rolled on wheels, or used as floats in a parade. </p><p>One exhibit was displayed only in the corners of the building. Another was hidden and the audience had to search for it, as though it were hidden treasure. </p><p>Some formats were designed to elicit response from the audience to the works being exhibited. Viewers might respond by touching or hugging the work, sitting or walking on it, altering it in some way, or even ripping it up. </p><p>In one instance, all the art was made during the exhibit. In another, what was shown was only the works' reflections in mirrors and the shadows they created through unusual lighting. </p><p>Exhibits held jointly with adults tend to have greater interest and legitimacy. These have included shows with teachers, siblings, parents, and neighbors. Exhibits as Celebrations Each exhibit is a celebration: a recognition of one's achievements and a sharing of them with the public. Student celebrations of their shows can be both opportunities to celebrate the art and make art of the celebration. The design of invitations and handouts, the costumes worn, and the food served at an opening party can all reflect on a central theme. </p><p>My students and I have painted our faces to celebrate an exhibit of masks, and worn lunar costumes to one </p><p>14 Art Education/January 1988 </p><p>I </p><p>_ </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Left: Art works talk about them- selves. Top: Various attachment ideas as part of the exhibit. Center: Suggestion boxes accompany each display. Bottom: Special glasses "needed" to see this show. </p><p>Art Education/January 1988 15 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Above: Pointing to things one likes about the work. Right: Tools used to make the art work part of the display. Opposite page top: Unusual matting ideas for an exhibit. Below: Wide angle views of work's details. </p><p>16 Art Education/January 1988 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>featuring space art. We have made edible baked forms for a showing of food paintings; and employed light shows and souvenir stands to complement particular themes. To celebrate the end of exhibits, we have had students march with their work, wear it, or have it come alive and speak to the audience. </p><p>In each of these endeavors, the art teacher as leader must encourage each creative contribution and assume, generally, the role of publicist. Ideally, he or she should become attuned to opportunites to move student exhibits out of the school into the broader community. </p><p>Contacts such as parents of students can often provide settings for student exhibits. In one of my classes we created large plastic fish to "swim" in the open spaces of one parent's seafood restaurant. Another class painted cardboard gas pumps to exhibit as a gas station belonging to someone's friend. </p><p>Unused spaces in a community can provide a challenge for exhibits. When a major store lies vacant, its windows can serve as a street gallery. When a building is being erected on a downtown street, the wooden barricades can become display boards. </p><p>Local events of all kinds present opportunities for displays. These can include such events as an open house at a hospital, the grand opening of a mall, a balloon race, or an antique car show. To Summarize The works of classroom artists tend to wind up on the refrigerator door at home or, at best, in a group exhibit at school. So they usually miss the opportunity for the series of learning experiences that take place before, during, and after a personal exhibit. But because artists are not certified or licensed, their identification must be developed through significant experiences such as these. </p><p>The Kentucky programs demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing the exhibit as a teaching tool and giving it due consideration as an art form. They have proven that well planned, innovative exhibits bring excitement and confidence to artmaking. And they have shown that for some students, having a personal showing of their work is like a first stage appearance where performing simply gets in the blood. D </p><p>George Szekely is Area Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. </p><p>Art Education/January 1988 17 </p><p>This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:36:25 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp.9p.10p.11p.12p.13p.14p.15p.16p.17</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsArt Education, Vol. 41, No. 1, Teaching Art (Jan., 1988), pp. 1-70Front Matter [pp.1-3]Teaching Art: An Overview [pp.5-4]If in Doubt, Go Take a Closer Look [pp.6-8]The Art Exhibit as a Teaching Tool [pp.9-17]Developing Academic Games and Simulations for Art Education [pp.18-24]Instructional Resources: Animals in Art [pp.25-48]The Laser Videodisc, a Slide-Management System for Your Classroom Now [pp.49-53]A New Beginning: Adults as Artists [pp.54-59]Guidelines for Teaching Art to Children and Youth Experiencing Significant Mental/Physical Challenges [pp.60-66]Printmaker's Dream: A Crossword Puzzle [pp.68-70]Back Matter [pp.29-67]</p></li></ul>