Art shows are fun, but who ends up going? If the show is after school, especially if it's at a venue other than the school, the people who attend are most often art students, their friends and family. This makes a good event, but it tends to not reach students who don't already know about the art program. Last year I had an idea - bring the art show to the school when the kids are there and try to attract students and staff who might not otherwise attend an art show. The Pop Up Art Show was born.
Ellen's collection, above, focused on family
Three of the images from Kayla's series. From her artist statement "Throughout this semester, I've not only been trying to branch out to really find the art style that works for me, but I've also been trying to discern who I am as a person and, with the help of my art, I believe that I've managed to do so, or at least crack the surface."
I have to give credit to my amazing local museum, the North Carolina Museum of Art. I've been to many incredible events there, but the one that really inspired me was the Monster Drawing Rally, which included artists working on site while the audience watched. I told my students about this and challenged them to make our event filled with active audience engagement. This time around we chose micro drawing, which were free, mini drawings that were drawn on request. We also included face painting and onsite screen-printing.
I decided to include my art history class in the show this year by having them work in groups to make art history themed carnival games (inspired by some guy). I'm not going to lie, initially they were resistant ("We seriously have to do this?") but they pushed through some intense senioritis and made some delightful games, including a version of the game Operation featuring the Vitruvian Man, pin the ear on van Gogh and a Scream inspired ball toss.
The Pop Up runs for just one day during lunch. We set up in the media center in the morning and welcomed the crowd during lunch. The games were very popular, as were the drawing activities and face painting. It was like an art show, but instead of standing around looking, the audience was participating actively. The audience was still art students and their friends, but kids were there who would have never come after school, which is a huge win for the sort of art program I want to build. AND THE ART! My kids' collections were amazing. I'm so proud of all my students and that my school is the kind of place where the media center welcomes and supports this sort of event.
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.