Fellow art teachers,
Yesterday the students and I hung the art show - my second year at high school level. We hung around 150 pieces in the commons area in conjunction with the two nights presentation of the school musical. I gave no awards, just hung what each student felt were his/her best works.
The tape sculptures were a huge success, except the one that a group made that they felt should be filled with fruit loops cereal. We got her hung, but she didn't age "gracefully" - like many of us, her hips got fuller and fuller as her head became emptier and emptier and by intermission she had a "blow out"! I was skeptical when they brought in nine BAGS of generic fruit loops, but I hated to squelch their enthusiasm.
The new superintendent was very complimentary, so I was happy about that, but the best reward for me came when I saw that my student "Jim" was there with his mom. "Jim"
is a freshman, a tough talker, who gives me a hard time everyday. He has a horrible home life (without going into details) which has soured him on life and made any positive attitude impossible. He is always in trouble at school and says he doesn't care about anything. I have him and another H.S. student during my 8th grade art class for Art 1 because of scheduling difficulties, so I don't get to give them the best of attention sometimes, but we have muddled through the year. We did watercolor a short time ago, and Jim seemed ot be interested. After several attempts at landscape, he sat and worked at a watercolor landscape with a sunset sky, tree and pine trees and a small pond everyday for several days. You could tell he was really proud of it, except of course if you asked him he would say it was terrible and find everything wrong with it. I asked him to give it to me for the art show. He told another teacher (who he took it and showed it to) that it would be in the
show, but then he would throw it away after. She of course told him he would NOT throw it away, if he was going to do that, she would take it! She liked it - and she too knew he was proud of it or he would not have shown it to her.
Everyone addressed an invitation to their parents for the show, and he did very unwillingly - said they wouldn't come. I found he and his mom looking at his watercolor, while he stood around with his usual tough guy act, his mom said how wonderful his painting was and that she would have to get a frame for it. She also said that they had left town for the afternoon and when they came back he said, "You got to stop at the high school and see my painting!" (So they did.)
I was so excited he was there! (And that he does CARE!) That was my blue ribbon for the night! It is a small step in the right direction with a kid who seems to have no hope in his life. I have been exhausted
all week because my husband and I also help in various capacities with the musical production, but that moment made all the work of planning and hanging the show worth it.
Thanks for listening,
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