Saturday, April 25, 2009

Uh Oh, Green Thumb

Bought plants, planted plants, photographed plants, drew plants from life. Plants from my deck. Plants in my ground. Drew them while talking to my 88 year old Grandma on the phone. She's been snipping, clipping, digging, watering her entire life. I told her I finally get it, this planting thing. I feel like I'm on the verge of something huge; things in my life are being pruned, I'm turning over a new leaf, I'm getting my hands dirty, I'm growing. Now all of those garden metaphors make sense! Yesterday the trees in my yard had fuzzy pollen tips; today they are leaves. Bravo, spring.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thoughts Enough

"There's words enough, paint and brushes enough and thoughts enough. The whole difficulty seems to be getting the thoughts clear enough, making them stand still long enough to be fitted with words and paint. They are so elusive--like wild birds singing above your head, twittering close beside you, chortling in front of you, but gone the moment you put out a hand. If ever you do catch hold of a piece of a thought it breaks away leaving the piece in your hand just to aggravate you. If one only could encompass the whole, corral it, enclose it safe--but then maybe it would die, dwindle away because it could not go on growing. I don't think thoughts could stand still--the fringes of them would always be tangling into something just a little further on and that would draw it out and out. I guess that is just why it is so difficult to catch a complete idea--it's because everything is always on the move, always expanding."

Emily Carr, October 1936

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ArtLab Week 4

Today, our last session was called The Village. Teachers and students met at Spiva. Using drawings from the image bank, they created wall drawings using electrical tape, installed in atypical spaces around the Center. Each team worked collaboratively to design and create a piece. The ArtLab was well-received, and the artists far exceeded my expectations. Congrats!


Anne-Marie Gailey, Carl Junction, teacher 4-5
Anna, grade 5
Angie Helm, Carl Junction, teacher K-1 and 6
Madison, grade 6
Elizabeth Cosby, Carl Junction, teacher 7-8
Brent, grade 7
Antonia Ferlo, Carl Junction, teacher 9-12
Kaelynn, grade 10
Nellie Mitchell, Webb City, teacher K-4
Amber Mintert, Webb City, teacher 9-12
Natalie, Webb City, grade 11
Kathryn, Webb City, grade 12
Gia, Webb City, grade 12
Cole, Webb City, grade 11
Ronda Denton, Carl Junction, teacher 2-3
Amber, Carl Junction, grade 3
Sydney, Carl Junction, grade 3

Monday, April 20, 2009

ArtLab Week 3

Teachers and students meet again at Spiva to make Symbolic Totems. Using drawings from the image bank, they created a totem of symbols cut from black construction paper and installed in atypical spaces around the Center. Each teacher/student team worked collaboratively to create and install the pieces.

The director of the art center came back to lock up the building just after we all left. She called me, laughing and shrieking with joy. In all, 6 installations went up, mostly on the second floor.

Participants agreed that I may document, publish, and promote the work. Lesson plans and photo documentation will be created for each session as well as instructional objectives that reflect national art standards and state grade level expectations. Documentation will be provided via CD to participating teachers. There will be a formal assessment of the program by all participants.

ArtLab Week 2

This week, teachers and students met at Spiva Center for the Arts. Using drawings from the image bank of drawings made week one, they create a mixed-media mandala on 18x24 watercolor paper. Each teacher /student team worked collaboratively to create a piece.

7 area art teachers have been coming with 1-2 of their most promising art students. Each lab session lasts 2 hours. Required commitment to all four sessions by the art teacher, students may rotate. There are no fees. Participating institutions are the MSSU Spiva Art Gallery and the George A Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri. Supplies were provided by the Missouri Fine Arts Academy.

ArtLab Week One

ArtLab is a professional development opportunity for Joplin-area public art teachers. I created this workshop in response to the lack of unique, collaborative art education programs in the area. It's going well, and I might publish it somehow.

The mission is to explore art beyond the classroom with my community.

K-12 art teachers make non-traditional art in non-school settings alongside and in cooperation with 1-2 of their own classroom students. The lessons were developed during the Missouri Fine Arts Academy for high school students, but have been adapted for K-12. These sessions provide outcomes that include hands-on learning for the art teacher, an intentional mentoring opportunity for 1-2 of their students, networking between art teachers, and a high degree of motivation for their field that is not provided in their current district professional development framework.

This first week, teachers and students came to MSSU gallery and drew from the African art collection. The goal was to collect a series of drawings to use as content for later sessions. This exposes the collection to the public and utilizes the MSSU gallery as a learning space.

Hot House Flowers

Had a sweet afternoon between thunderstorms at Alexandria's nursery just outside Carthage. What a needed moment; so much prettiness, growth, smell of dirt, relaxed bodies, helpful and knowledgeable gardeners. My nephew got his hands in it, feeling...and tasting. Started planting today. I can't believe I haven't worked on my greenthumb earlier in life. Happy Earth Day.