Four years ago I was at our annual art show, noticing a lack of something important - students. Not even all the kids with work in the show made it to the opening, let alone students who weren't in arts classes. As the few of us in attendance stood and passively looked at the work, I knew I had to find a better way.
So I thought about what would make a show meaningful for kids. Here's what I came up with:
- Relevant to the artists and the audience
- For and by students
- Active and engaging
And the concept of the Pop Up Art Show was born. Interactive, student driven and accessible to all students. We set it up for one day, during lunch. All kids can come, even those who wouldn't have a ride to an after school event. And they want to come - because it's fun.
The Pop Up Art Show always includes an active component. This year we included drawings on demand, where guests could line up an request a quick drawing. We also had henna, bring-your-own- shirt screen printing and button making.
And, because my classroom is TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) and my students determine what we make and learn about, we also had a fashion show. This year three of my students wanted to design clothing, sew it and share it. Teachers and students from two other classes were invited to participate, and the results were beautiful; handmade dresses, wearable art and curated streetwear, all combining in an explosion of creativity and shown to packed gym.
And the art!!! My students each made multiple piece collections and our sculpture teacher had her students design a installation. This show was completely planned by students, including envisioning the work, planning the activities, hanging work, and taking it all down. I couldn't have been prouder!
I'm interested in creating a student student centered space for my high school students through choice and abundant opportunity for self expression. I'm also a writer for SchoolArts co-author of The Open Art Room.