Monday, January 23, 2012

Art Teacher Hack: Hot glue + paperclips = Easy way to hang student work!

I have a seriously real love-hate relationship with the whole business of dealing with the display of student artwork.

On one hand I LOVE showing off the amazing pieces of artwork and visual ingenuity that my students come out with after weeks of toiling away in the art studio classroom. Most of the time people are surprised at the things they do because the natural visual art talent is hidden within so many of the incredibly-and-obviously-talented-in-every-other-way students that walk the halls of my school. Some of the most extraordinary artists are also star/starting athletes and incredibly scholarly students at the top of their classes. The rest of the amazing talent? It's the quiet students who barely ever make a peep to trumpet their own incredible worth. For all of these reasons, the student gallery is important to maintain.

But, as I mentioned, I have a love-hate relationship with the whole business of displaying any student pieces. It requires an enormous amount of prep work - creating nameplates and hanging nameplates, rigging student pieces so that they can be securely hung without damaging the work itself OR accidentally fall down/off the gallery walls over time, etc. etc. etc. The amount of work required to change out the gallery or fill it to begin with is just so aggravating that I do everything to avoid it most of the time and, sadly, this results in not enough artwork being seen in the gallery on the regular basis.

(I am openly admitting that this is poor on my part as a teacher and education professional. *sigh* I am publicly pledging to work on this specifically from here on out!)

Thankfully, my commitment to always work "smarter not harder" has resulted in me discovering an AWESOME "hack" (of sorts) for the whole business of rigging *ahem*, I mean PREPARING student pieces so that they can get up on the gallery walls just a little bit faster.

Enter a box of standard paperclips and the trusty (and totally awesome) power of the hot glue gun...

Are you seeing this? IT IS AWESOME.

I mean, yes - it is sort-of  "ghetto" in how it looks BUT(!) this is the view from the back of a piece of artwork. (In this case stack of canvas panel pieces). Have you ever tried to hang a piece of artwork that is just rigid enough that it's otherwise perfect to just slap onto a wall and call it a day but then - OH, I forgot about that whole thing that you can't put eyelet screws in the back for the wire and all of that jazz that you normally do to hang pictures. #facepalm

Well, laugh if you want to at what I believe to be an AH-MAZING hack for hanging student work in the gallery. From here on out I'm going to be hanging all pieces mounted on chipboard and canvas panel and paneled pieces like this.

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