Teaching with Contemporary Art

What’s “The End” Good For?

Raymond Pettibon, "No title (I must tell)", 2002

Raymond Pettibon, "No title (I must tell)", 2002

June can be a real catharsis of both the most beautiful and ugly kinds, but it doesn’t have to be a week-to-week whirlwind waiting for the next test. The last few weeks of the academic year are a chance to step up and possibly do a few things different, or daring, or even a little dangerous. Here are a few ideas we have recently tried:

  • Ask students to work alone or in teams to create an installation. Install art in parts of the school that never see any art (What will the phys ed teacher think?).
  • Have students select showcase portfolios- three or four examples from their entire body of work- and create a group exhibition with classmates. Again, think about installing exhibitions in  places that don’t usually feature art to get a different kind of attention.
  • Ask alumni, who are usually around and available before summer jobs start in July, to come in and give an artist talk about their work since graduating. If they have portfolios to share, have them show students who will be entering their senior year, giving them food for thought as they begin planning to apply for undergraduate programs.

As I simultaneously get ready for the end of the school year and the opening of my own exhibition beginning this Friday, I’m also thinking about the fact that it’s time to take stock of what went well and what kinds of challenges I faced. It’s a perfect time to revise and update goals for the following year and get some good books together for the summer (more recommendations on the way!). Whatever you do, please don’t be one of those people who sits around and “counts” the days until “it’s over”… Do something different, or daring, or even a little dangerous.