Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art and Education

By Sam Braga, Education Intern 

As an education intern at SCC, I’m here to familiarize students that come for tours with our exhibitions.  But often times, it is a mutual experience! To allow open ended conversations about the artworks, we use a teaching method called Visual Thinking Strategies. This means we ask the students what they see, what it makes them think and why. Last Friday was my first time giving a tour not only at SCC, but in my life, and right as the high school students filed in, butterflies filled my stomach.  Immediately my mind started running; what if they don’t like these works at all, or worse yet, what if they don’t have anything at all to say! But, due to the prepping of the rest of the education staff, I knew I was ready. And, high school students always have something to say.

My experience taught me that in these situations, it’s okay to say what you’re thinking and in fact, that’s what the Visual Thinking Strategy teaches you. As the high school students warmed up to me, their conversations about the art became richer and more fulfilling. My nerves melted and the students started to have fun. Anne Drew Potter’s piece influenced a compelling discussion that high school students were able to relate to easily. Both groups I had associated one meaning of the piece with cliques in high school and both even mentioned the movie Mean Girls. Because of its relevance, The Captains Congress provided the most interesting conversation. It also allowed some funny insights. Why were some figures fit with pot bellies and some were not? “Well, this one is pregnant. That one isn’t.” And why, perhaps, are the figures in the circle arguing? Simply, “They’re fighting over a candy bar.”  The students also came to realize on their own how all three artists in our exhibition were connected in a theme.

After the tour the high school students then participated in our Drop-in Studio, focusing around Lia Cook’s work which they also viewed upstairs. Students were able to incorporate their own black and white photographs in our workshop, which involved paper weaving. Cook’s work depicts actual black and white weavings of portraits that balances between abstract and recognizable. There’s one more chance to participate in our workshop relating to the current exhibit, taking place this Sunday (10/23). Don’t miss the exhibition closing along with our workshop featuring metalsmith Mariko Kusumoto! 

1 comment:

  1. These high schoolers definitely had some interesting and unexpected insights! I'm the other Ed Intern and led an entirely different group through the exhibition, but they made some surprisingly similar connections to those in your group, particularly with Anne Drew Potter's piece. They also started talking about movies like Peter Pan, although they didn't explicitly talk about cliques a la Mean Girl. They gave the figures personalities that were fantastical and mischievous, describing some as "just hanging out" and others "looked like they were up to something and had too much energy."

    It was really refreshing after spending the majority of my time with undergraduates who are often begrudgingly jaded as they become increasingly sleep deprived progressing through their undergrad careers to see how genuinely engaged and curious these incredibly thoughtful and attentive students were.