I was very excited to see a session titled, Student-Run Art Show: Thinking They Did it on Their Own!. This session sounded right up my alley. I love empowering kids to ‘do it themselves’. It was intended for the middle level but I feel there are many ideas you could use for both your upper and younger levels.
Meet Kristin Stephens, middle school teacher in Washington DC. Kristin explained that she started this process out by developing committees. She gave some suggestions of…
- Publicity: These are the students who did all the advertisement for the event. She did posters and personal, hand made invitations for the school staff. She also had them brain storm ideas of how to get the high school students to attend. I thought this was a great idea. They also advertise on the morning announcements. She found that this committee work was perfect for outgoing student in her class.
- Graphics: Each work of art in her shows have a short write up. These students write, or perhaps rewrite, the information about the work of art. They also write a program for the art show. Kristin asks the students to use their own handwriting when ever possible. She explains this gives the show a more ‘kid’ run feel as well as celebrating handwriting, an art form in itself. She finds this to be a great position for the introverts of her class.
- Floor Plan and Construction: This is a big committee. This group mattes the work for the exhibit. They are also in charge of laying out the displays for the evening. They hang the work and the labels (labels are numbers, rather than names). They also set up the chairs and easels. She said this is a great committee for those kids who like to move around; the once who like to get out of their seats a lot in class. Within this group they also have a sub committee such as tables, labels, foremen.. All of the jobs above are divided out and assigned. Kristin explains that this gives more structure to and fluidity to the event itself.
- Refreshments: This group decided on a treat for the event night. Cookies and juice has been some of the refreshments from past shows. She also said she has done bake sales as a fundraiser in the past, this group runs these areas for a portion of time.
Art Madness: This was a highly creative group that is in charge of working with the class developed theme for the show. They might create a centerpiece for the art show. Kristin mentioned her last art show’s theme was ‘Your Inner Child’. The art madness group created stations with manipulative such as blocks and tinker toys. The have done decorations such as a red carpet for a Hollywood theme. They have also created a scavenger hunt for the event. This group creates the feel for the night.
I loved her committees. They gave a place for every kid, their talents, their needs. It also allows for all schedules, students who cannot stay after school and ones that can.
Kristin has also developed an assessment for this event. Some of the things she looks at is the students participation on the committee, the effort on the committee, participation at the reception and overall attitude.
This is a huge job to coordinate, even if the kids are ‘doing’ everything… I’m going to go out on a limb and say ESPECIALLY because the kids are doing everything. Kristin uses parent volunteers in many different ways. She has parent assisting at the refreshments and she sign in/out table. Student’s attendance is required so the students are asked to sign in and out. She has the checklist provided by hour and grade.
She give student expectations for how they should act at the art show. They cannot just come in and ignore their parents. Kristin explains they should show their parent their work and tell them about the artwork a bit before hanging out with their friends.
A large part of every show is the reflection after. Getting her students to reflect on what went well and what could have used improvement is important to the process of this event.
A BIG thanks to Kristin for sharing so many of her methods of pulling off a great student show. I can see where this would create buy in from the students and make them more proud of their work and the art show celebrating it.