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Visual arts day ... our in-school field trip.

VISUAL ARTS DAY... Our In-school Field Trip

BRINGING STUDENTS AND ARTISTS/craftspersons together in an environment that promotes dialogue about the purposes of art, sources of ideas and individual approaches to subject matter and technique is a goal of many art teachers. But the number of students that can be accommodated is limited. Other obstacles, such as scheduling problems, expenses and lack of support by some administrators have also discouraged many art teachers.

Our "Visual Arts Day" model provides positive opportunities for students and artists to come together by inviting the artist to the school for an "in-school field trip." This approach allows students to meet several artists and discuss with them their individual approaches to art.

Each artist is assigned a classroom in which displays of artwork and demonstrations can take place. The classroom art teacher selects these "artist stations" that each class is to visit and plans the length of time for each session. Teachers also attempt to relate their art curriculum to the presentations of the artists/craftspersons.

It is important that the students experience directly the enthusiasm and excitement that the artists feel for the act of creating and the completed work. For the student, the concepts of "art as a worthwhile human endeavor" and "art as a communication of ideas" are critical to taking art seriously as an integral part of society. The earlier the students experience the sincerity and purpose of artists, the earlier foundations are laid for the important role of the arts and crafts in their lives.

The artists/craftspersons can come from the community, art/craft organizations, local colleges and universities, or members of the students' families. The "Visual Arts Day" model program developed at Kutztown University incorporates students in their junior year of the art education program as the visiting artists/craftspersons at a nearby elementary school.

The university students benefit greatly from their day's experience as "visiting artists/craftspersons." The experience has proven to be a catalyst in helping university student-artists to change roles--from thinking of themselves as students to thinking of themselves as art teachers. To prepare for their day in the schools, the university students select an area in which they have interest and expertise. They plan a presentation, collect the necessary materials and prepare a demonstration. They are given a list of possible questions that the school students might ask, so that they can consider their responses. For the art education majors, the selection of an area of art in which they decide they have competency is an important step in their development as artists and teachers.

The coordinator for the university students is responsible for recruiting the student-artist/craftspersons, reviewing their plans and assisting them in their preparation. Communication with the classroom art teachers regarding schedules and plans is also necessary. The elementary art teacher is responsible for the in-school scheduling and preparing the students for the "in-school field trip." This model for the "Visual Arts Day" program has been successful because the experience is beneficial for all involved.

PHOTO : Mary Van Leer comments on student work following her presentation on the work of Mary Cassatt.
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Title Annotation:elementary school art education
Author:Schneider, Susan Allport
Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 1989
Previous Article:Learning encounter: art teacher, university students, children.
Next Article:Kindergarten art practices: important beginnings.

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