Teaching with Contemporary Art

Slowing Down and Visualizing Approaches, Part 2

Passing Through, 2007

Following up on last week’s column, I was thinking about ways to slow down during the summer months and properly recharge for the upcoming school year. I also got to thinking about ways to inject new artists, media and themes into my teaching while preparing during the summer. Three ways I wanted to share include…..

Vacationing with a sketchbook and at least one way to make art:
New ideas come on suddenly. Without a way to take notes and perhaps create an example of the idea itself, some of the best stuff gets lost.

Getting together with other teachers to rethink and update curriculum maps:
I happen to be blessed in this area because I work with a tremendous team of teachers in Nyack who are willing to visualize new approaches to make the classes we offer more interesting for students AND teachers. We spent a full day together early in July to update and revise one of our core foundations courses and now each of us have the remainder of the summer to work off of that session in order to revise and update other advanced electives we teach.

Exploring exhibitions in person and online:
While we can’t possibly get to everything we want to see over the summer, many galleries and museums offer fantastic slideshows and background information on their exhibits. If you can’t get to the exhibit you want to see, check it out online and take note of where the show may be traveling. You might be able to see it in another city or at another time.

Teachers who incorporate contemporary art into their classes are constantly involved in a process of choosing who and what to share with students. What are some ways you make these decisions during the summer months?


  1. Susan says:

    Okay…I am officially inspired! I am off to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan with my family…no phone, no internet, just food and the lake and woods.

    I will create! I will bring my note book and draw/create each day when the spirit hits me…and I will bring my camera.

    Isn’t it amazing how the simpliest ideas can get lost? Thanks for the gentle reminder:)
    PS. Let’s connect for some PD ideas for the upcoming school year through Art 21:)

  2. Joe Fusaro says:

    Susan, that’s excellent! Please contact me when you’re back. We would love to see some of the photos and/or sketchbook work, too…

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Joe,
    Here is one photo from my “water series” I had a joyful time! http://organicsyes.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/water-in-the-up/

    Talk to you soon,

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