In The Field: Teaching Community & Culture in the Arts

In Art Education 25500, students have been given in the field options where they can participate in the creating of several community arts projects. These projects range from a mural in the South Bronx, a mosaic in a children’s park, co-curating DreamYard’s annual student exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and co-leading family workshops.

Art education students, Arielle Sheldon and Issa Lucket, signed up to co-curate the student art exhibition at the Bronx Museum, and this is what they had to say about the experience.

What was the day like?

A.S: We came in and we were assigned sections of walls to work with. Within those sections we had creative freedom on how we could matte and frame the art. We had to use our personal aesthetic to figure out what would work best. With the placement of pieces onto the wall there were guidelines yet we could play inside the parameters set.

I.L:  I liked working with others, and at some point I facilitated one of the students who needed help wiring a frame. I gave him a brief run down and showed him how he could do it. I made sure to then continue with the work I was doing and answered questions he had along the way.

What was it like working with the DreamYard community of teachers and students?

A.S: It was nice. You could do independent work and yet you couldn’t do everything by yourself, at times you had to rely on others to do the work with you. It was nice to work with the students that were there because it was their art, and to interact with them in the space, you were working with the artists in the installation process, which was great.

I.L: It was a very welcoming community to work with. The fact that we all wanted to be there and make sure that the student artwork was displayed beautifully was evident. Each piece received a good amount of time and care, because we all shared this common goal and appreciation for art.

Have you ever done anything like this?

A.S: I’d never done anything like that before. I’d been involved with art for a long time but never the behind the scenes. It was an interesting opportunity for me to see how art is hung and displayed in a space. To see the creative problem skills that you have to have, it’s not just about creating art but also how its placed in an environment and the context as well.

What is learned from projects like this?

A.S: It shows that people care about their community and art programs and you’re willing to do things because you care. It’s also a great opportunity for the kids. So often being an artist is like being an athlete, its unattainable. Yet here it’s attainable, its being shown in a prestigious museum and that’s important.

I.L:  I think it’s a really good boost of confidence for students. To be shown appreciation and to have something of yours hanging on a wall, and sharing it with the whole community is really important.

Any final thoughts?  

A.S: I think that projects like this show kids that art is important. It’s not just a class or subject that you do for fun. It’s serious and there are important things that art can tell the community.

Stay tuned for more community arts projects later in the year!

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