Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The things we all carry :: Arts Integration

What kind of arts integration are you doing these days? I mean, I know that you might be an art educator so art education is not only what you do but also what you do best but that wasn't my question. 

One thing that I am very aware of as an artist is the importance of connections and relationships. In order to design and create a successful work of art, one element or principle is not nearly so effective or meaningful if it's standing completely on it's own. Pulling the different elements of art and principles of design together - even if it's done in simple ways - is so powerful, communicative, and amazing to behold. Artist and art educators know this as fact but if we don't share that with others by INTEGRATING what we know with what everyone else knows (apart from the arts), we are keeping the richness and beauty of the arts to ourselves. And what fun is that? Seriously. Misery might enjoy company but happiness and delightedness enjoys a big ol' party that everyone is invited to, RSVP's to, and actually shows up to.

I mentioned last week that I am embarking on a new project with the 2D Design students that draws upon the power of using our lives to tell stories in order to explain how the sum of the parts is way more than the parts themselves. Every day I have been offering the students parts of myself and my story (as a way to practice what I both preach and TEACH) and I have shown them a different way to "read" things other than words on a page. Trying to do this on the daily has challenged me in all sorts of ways that I never thought it would because I'm literally trying to come up with more than a half dozen ways to say and show the exact same idea.

One of my favorite books that I have ever read is called "The Things They Carried." I read the book in my college freshman English class and it was one of the most illuminating and illustrative writings that I have ever read took a very VERY abstract concept and put it in words very simply and in a way that was easy to understand. And this concept made me think about what I carry and what my students carry on the daily that offer very interesting perspectives of who, what, and how we are in our lives. Want to see what I have been carrying out so far this school year (at least)? Here are the contents of my crossbody/shoulder bag (basically a purse) that I don't leave home without. These are the contents of what is in that bag without editing (well, photo editing not withstanding)

The contents of your bag can tell all sorts of things about you. Here's mine! What? You don't carry a tiny hammer in your purse too?

I have been hitting my student artists hard with the importance of reading beyond words on a page for the past week or so and while it's been incredibly taxing for me on any given day, it's been enormously rewarding for me to see their understandings and abilities "click" into place on the subject of non-verbal and written literacy.

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