Saturday, January 12, 2013

ABCs of Arts Integration: U - Z, Part 5

Welcome! We've made it to the conclusion! 
This is Part 5 of my ABCs of Arts Integration. 
Thanks for joining me on this journey!! 
My hope is always to get you thinking,
-- to prompt your own thoughts.
Let's wind this up!

Who knew that the letter "U" was so UPBEAT? What a great list of words to gather together when speaking of Arts Integration! This list to me is what its all about.

In a perfect world we want to be able to express ourselves through our Art and find UNCONDITIONAL support in doing so. We want every child, every student, to be able to create their own UNIQUE response and then be met with support and encouragement. 

One simple suggestion is that starting VERY young, when your child shows you their 'scribble' and you really have no idea what is going on -- then ask a question. "What's going on over here with all of these lines?" Then take the time to listen. Or rather than make a value judgement such as "I like your painting" instead make an observation, "I can see you really used a lot of paint here in the middle, it looks really thick to me." Such an observation opens the door to further conservation and appreciation. It also informs the artist that you're taking the time to consider the work. That is much more meaningful in the long run than someone who says, "Oh, that's so pretty." 

photo of: Elementary Art project with hand tracings
Three Dimensional "Hand Sculptures" from Tracings 
I've already spoken about projects that are open-ended and allow every child to succeed. Here's a reminder of one of my 'favorite' projects. I just LUV LUV LUV this one where elementary students have traced their hands onto 'copy paper' and then built three dimensional sculptures from their tracings. Each is completely UNIQUE and yet there is a UNITY that ties them all together! KUDOS!

Everything about the world of Art starts from the word: VISUALIZATION. Developing this skill is both the foundation and the gift of art. The ability to 'imagine' and to consider and then to proceed forward toward bringing something new to life -- is the hallmark of the Art world. To visualize and then to move toward that image that exists inside your own head, that is both joy and frustration mixed together. 

We can imagine a world filled with unicorns and pixie dust, now to convey it -- through words, or drawing, or music, or dance. How do we let our audience in on the vision that is ours alone? How do we respond when our drawing is decidedly NOT up to our visualization? How do we capture that sunset to share with others? Even the photograph of the event is lacking in comparison to the splendor of the actual event. We take a stab at it and then we return to our parade of P words: patience + perseverance. We keep after forward progress. Our third attempt is a better approximation than our first. Then we have to scrap the fourth attempt all together. 

photo of: Fabric Finale of Fireworks: Quilt Illustration for "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement
Fireworks in Fabric -- Frustration upon Frustration 
My newest picture book, "Red, White and Blue" concludes with fireworks. How I agonized in getting that two page spread to meet my initial visualization. I must have started over a dozen times, attempting a variety of methods and never being satisfied. In the end, I needed to move away from the images in my head and move toward 'just gettin' her done.' I marvel when I get feedback from an observer that this quilt is their favorite. It's a good thing that they can't see what's in my head. There's something to be said for the VICTORY of closure. Art history is filled with the stories and lore of how the Masters did or did not deal with such frustrations. 

Keeping that sense of WONDER alive in our children and our students is the great good fortune of a life lived immersed in the Arts. 

Watching as a mono-print is pulled from its base and seeing the joy and delight that unfolds with a sense of "WOW! I did that!!" is the gift that encourages the teacher. Seeing the absolute glee on a wee face as they open their symmetric blotto painting for the first time is enough to keep you going. It's all new -- all over again. 

"What else?" What else does this collaborative weaving need? What else can we add to the set design? What else does this dance need to resolve the tension between the characters of the story?" WHAT ELSE

photo of: symmetry in butterfly painting for preschool, artwork for children, kindergarten


OK. So I had to stretch a bit, but hopefully you'll allow some latitude. I do get Xylophone on the up and up. Hand out those instruments early. I LUVd the Fisher Price classic with the rainbow keys. What's not to LUV? Color and sound all in one pull along toy! Science and music!

It's the YIPPEE factor that keeps us Youthful. Yearn for your Art. Bring it to life. Get over the hump of procrastination and just make something yummie... for your own pleasure. 

photo of: Art Easel with Degas Quote via RainbowsWithinReach
Degas Quote on an Easel Backdrop 
We made it! Was there any doubt in your mind? We've arrived at the conclusion. It's time to wrap it up! 

"ZONE" is the same as "FLOW" in my book. When we're immersed in a project, all of the ills of the world slip away. It's just me and the paint. Me and the music. Me and the poem, wrestling with each other to see how close we can get to 'nailing it.' 

In my mind it is the Arts that set us apart from the humdrum and the monkeys. It is the expression of what is both personal and unique that is expressed for the world to share that brings ZEST to the day. The ZIP and ZEAL are just around the next corner. 

StART early. StART now. StART soon!
Get stARTed. You'll be glad you did.  

"It's Never too Early to Start Art" Young Child at Easel Painting via RainbowsWithinReach

Here are the other bloggers in my sub-set of A to Z folks.... These series are also on Arts + Crafts: 
-- Debbie --

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