Teaching with Contemporary Art

On Our Way


It’s been a blissfully exhausting week. The day after the election, students were so excited (not to mention teachers) that most of each class session was spent reflecting on the fact that the country, or a majority of the country, had looked past skin color and chose the person they felt could steer the country into the future. By the end of classes on Wednesday, last week, we were creating paper quilts that gave each student a chance to reflect on the election and visually react to it. Not every reaction was positive or celebratory, but we put the pieces together anyway and created a single work that brought us together as a group to share our reactions with others.

Walking through Grand Central Station this past Sunday on my way to see the Mary Heilmann exhibit at the New Museum, I noticed that the atmosphere was much like late December. Christmas has come early. People were hugging, shaking hands and laughing a lot more than a few weeks prior. I couldn’t help recognizing that the atmosphere was similar in the schools I visited over the past week. While the country slowly moves through troubling economic news and a recession, there was hope and joy coming through. Possibilities were shining brighter than problems.

While I suggested a few approaches to incorporating the election in art classrooms last week, I was wondering how other teachers brought the election into their classrooms. Please share your stories….

Illustration (detail) by Karyl DelMundo, Senior, Nyack High School, NY.


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