Our Final Exhibition for Class 15500

After five weeks of having to respond with a quick drawing or sculpture, etc. to a “Do Now” prompt to start our Monday morning class I decided it was time for each student to do a longer, more sustained, piece of art.  They were to think about the art they had seen—either in their fellow students’ artist presentations, in the gallery trip we took together, or in the museum or gallery they had visited to do their final papers and lesson plans. The students had a new arsenal of techniques, having witnessed and participated in the presentation of new materials each week in class—these presentations also by their colleagues. The students had to think about what “big idea” would motivate their work and what materials were of interest and would make sense in actualizing idea that they had conceived.  In addition they needed to think of their work as something that might be used to create new lesson plans.

They handed in a written proposals regarding their plan for their work with the knowledge and understanding that it would likely change (perhaps completely) over time. For many students in the class this was the most time they ever had spent on a piece of art… they worked on it for a minimum of six class sessions (30 minutes) and then additional time at home.  Some struggled, ideas were tossed out, materials and goals were often simplified and everyone’s work transformed over time. Many students had not had an art making class since elementary school (if then) so it was an unfamiliar and challenging experience. For others the context of the project taking place within an education class created different problems…how to go from one’s own work for its own sake to being aware that work should inspire other students and generate lesson plans. A number of students discovered the fun and rewards of art making and vowed to continue.

We labeled the work together. They learned about wall text—what it all means from the obvious (name of artist, date, title, medium) to provenance (the history of ownership of art.) We reviewed how you look at art in a museum or gallery and what are useful questions leading to greater understanding. We hung the show.  Our last day of class was spent looking at, talking about, asking questions about and imagining lessons based on each other’s work.

Here is some of the work. Apologies for not showing everyone’s work but photo quality was inadequate. 


Johanelli glued legal pharmaceuticals to her sculpture. The idea that one could use unconventional materials was reinforced by a trip to Dorsky Gallery where the work in the group show included a great range of materials. Johanelli talked about how drugs made you well as well as made you sick….thus the tree representing living beings.


Leticia made a collage self-portrait. She used family photos, ribbons and bows, text and gathered images to show as much about herself as she could.

The class looks on

The class shares in the temporary gallery.

Book and landscape series

Camie shares her series of oil pastel drawings and pop-up book with the class. Her book is in English and Japanese and all the work was based on a Japanese folktale.


Nancy attached a mirror to the face of the mannequin so the mannequin became the viewer. She wanted to share her love of music in this sculpture.

Nancy's mixed media collage

Sandra intentionally incorporated a variety of materials from her job at a florist shop to make an autobiographical collage. She talked about her depiction of the seasons and added that the she would rather not reveal all as some of the impetus for the work was very personal. It could perhaps be understood after close observation. This lead to a discussion on what the viewer brings to the observed art.


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