“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents” – Bob Ross
It is Friday morning after our annual art show, which was held on Tuesday evening. I hadn’t posted about it until today because I feel like I’m still living it with clay work distribution continuing and the classroom not quite back to normal yet. This is it, though, I’ve taken some time to reflect about it this morning.
It was a good show with hundreds of artworks on display, including group projects from the fall. Consequently, nearly all of my 450+ students were represented.
My Happy Little Accident
Although art show prep is on my mind starting in the fall, it kicks in with earnest the week before the show. The day before the show I work in the clay room hanging artwork on displays while a substitute teacher monitors my classes. By show day, almost everything has been mounted and the maintenance staff helps to drag displays into the classroom and rearrange tables. We meet an hour or so before school starts to get everything organized before the kids arrive. This year, once we got everything set up and the maintenance staff took off to do their other work, I took another look at one of the displays and stubbornly attempted to reposition it myself. Boom! Crash! Bang! CRACK! It toppled over and the hinges popped off, taking shanks of wood with them. Somehow I dodged being trapped beneath it. Needless to say, the guys had to come back and make the repairs. What would I ever do without them?
Art Show Set-Up
Once we got that squared away, the rest of the day was spent covering surfaces, setting up clay pieces, getting everything in position. I got these table skirts from some friends once when I was helping to take down their art show, and they were going to throw them away. One year when they were attached in my art room, on entering, a student excited gasped, “It looks like the tables are wearing prom dresses!” Which I believe is perfectly stated.
The Hall of Lights
During the day before and the day of the art show, students decorate white paper bags with marker and make cut-out areas with scissors.In the evening, students my colleague and I have recruited line the entrance hallway with the bags and drop LED finger lights into each bag. This creates our Hall of Lights, which we all find dramatic and transformational.
The Art Show
And then visitors round the corner and the art show begins:
This video, an overview of the 5/6 art program was playing on the projection screen throughout the evening:
As visitors exit my classroom, they are funneled through to my colleague’s 7/8 art classroom where they view hundreds more works of art. This gives my younger students a chance to see what lies ahead for them in future grades.
It was a fun night and very busy. I saw a lot of students and met a lot of parents, who were pleased to see their children’s art on display. I was so pleased to see a few colleagues come through, knowing they had either stayed late or come back to school to pay a visit. And I always appreciate the annual visit by our superintendent, who makes a point to stop by to show his support. Our principal also visited the show, taking time to chat with students and their families. All in all, it was a good night for art!
The Final Take-Down (which we sing to The Final Countdown by Europe – 1986)
The next day, as soon as the students arrive, we take down all the art, sort it by project, group it by home room for first semester classes and by class number for current classes, deliver it to homerooms or store it in the project cabinet for current students to bring home in their portfolios at the end of the year. This is some of what that looks like:
And just like that, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. And we reflect. And then we rest, grateful to all who helped make it possible. Thank you!