I have art show issues. When our department's had them after school much of the student body misses out. The kids who come are often art students or their friends. Those who have jobs or don't have transportation miss out. This has bothered me for years. Instead, I wanted an art show that's aimed at the general student population, at those students who've maybe never considered an art class. I also wanted something that everyone can attend.
Last year I tried setting up a one day show in the media center. Teachers signed up to bring classes and it was well attended, but still lacking the passion and energy I wanted to create. Lucky for me a colleague staged a field day in the school's courtyard during lunch a few months ago with a DJ and games. YES - this was the energy I was looking for!
The next day I asked my Art 3 students to brainstorm - what kinds of activities could we include in our show? We decided on henna tattoos, free BYOS (bring your own shirt) screen printing and micro drawings. The kids were excited about bringing people to the event during lunch and used social media to get the word out.
We scrambled to set everything on the big day, wondering if people would come. When the bell rang for first lunch a herd of girls with t shirts poured through the media center doors. The henna line stretched forever and the micro drawing table was busy as well. Tons of students and staff wandered around and looked at the amazing art we'd spend months making and were duly impressed. "You should sign up for Art 1", I'd say.
Next year will be even better.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.