Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just for fun: The College Board | Interactive Community Art

Do you have any favorite traditions within your school community? I recently shared the tradition that is Field day as my school does it (in the beginning of the year vs. the end). I in the past I have also shared about other traditions like Spirit week (that happens mid year to kick off second semester) in postings HERE, HERE, and HERE (This last one was really good because it has a video of one of my past students. He had made himself a transformer costume that actually transformed!!! BRILLIANT!!!) And there was that one posting I shared right around prom when I helped one of my senior students take a decidedly visual and creative approach when asking his date to accompany him to the big event in this posting.  (the guys asking the girls in fun and original ways is also traditional at my school.

For as much as I consider myself to be a very non-traditional type who prefers to not celebrate or acknowledge the usual traditions in my own personal/family life - like the fact that I/we don't do trick-or-treating or Elf on the shelf or Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, etc. - I really REALLY love all of the traditions that are kept at my school year after year. In my experiences the traditions draw people together every year that they happen and they also really make people (like alumni and family members) want to come and join in the community and remember what makes the school and its community so amazingly special and unique.

One tradition that I have not shared yet is the infamous College Board that hangs in the academic building (we have three buildings and if you came on our campus you might think we were a small college because that's what facilities suggest). Here is this year's college board hanging in the hallway...

The College Board is something that is used only by the seniors but admired by all of the rest of us. It is interactive and participatory and gives a place for senior students to "graffiti" their name as well as all of the colleges where they are accepted and/or decide to go.

Every year the board has a new design and theme and that is determined by the Visual Art prefect (a senior student who is elected by peers to be a leader of specifically defined areas). The senior prefect works with me and other faculty advisors to conceptualize their visual design (that should illuminate a little about what makes their senior class so unique and special) and then they paint their design on the board. The board is a giant piece of plywood that is primed and painted year after year after year which means it's the same board since when it was first started. (Maybe seven years ago?) It is pretty huge physically - approximately 4' by 6' in size. Here is a closer look at this year's design...

The Visual Arts prefect did a phenomenal job this year on the College Board and she just presented it the other day to the whole school during our weekly assembly time. She worked so hard and I am ridiculously proud of the job she did. An incredible amount was spent both thinking about what apps would be included as well as the inspiration behind just using the iPhone itself as subject matter. Some of the apps included don't actually exist but the student did a beautiful job thinking critically about what they would look like if they did exist and then making them happen.

The student worked all summer on it and I stopped in to see her (at her house/home studio! She is VERY serious about her art and her parents are so supportive - such a blessing!) and I know that in addition to her also learning how to go about creating such a major piece of artwork she also learned a lot about technique as well. She learned the importance of preserving the integrity of her marks as well as thinking about creating and depicting the essence of something and how that can be way more powerful and accurate instead of trying to paint it exactly - which, sometimes, results in a painting looking so far from what it actually is a painting of!

If you don't do something like The College Board at your school, I absolutely suggest it as a very awesome thing to try at your school! It truly does take visual art out of the classroom and then it also serves as a catalyst to draw the school community together in order to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and achievements of the students.

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