Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Teaching Institute at the UW Art Museum

How do K-12 educators stay energized and dedicated to teaching and learning, even in the face of monumental mandates for more testing and less creative thinking? They attend the annual Summer Teaching Institute at the UW Art Museum! Transforming Learning: Visual Art as Allegory, Symbol and Discovery was a week packed full of investigative processes that linked original art, writing, cultural history, math, science and more in creative ways to inspire learning and teaching that can be used in any classroom.
Consider this assignment: Begin by walking around the University of Wyoming Visual Arts Facility looking for places where you could envision a large-scale sculpture. Document the most interesting spaces you find using a digital camera or sketching them in your journal. Then, document some of the organic matter that you find outside (i.e. flowers, grasses, trees, etc.). Consider the very small and very large shapes they create. This will serve as inspiration for a symbol/motif. Experiment with how you can translate your motif into three dimensions while remaining mindful of the negative spaces that your symbol/motif may create. Use your symbol/motif multiple times while varying scale, orientation, and form to create visual interest. Then complete a model for a site-specific monument executed primarily in planar materials, using the symbols/motifs inspired by your walk.

This assignment to students on Day 3 of the Institute extended ideas they had been exploring about line and form in two dimensions into the three-dimensional plane, inspired by their considerations of the drawings of Goya and the small sculptures of Linda Fleming. Sounds challenging doesn't it? 
Here's what Hank Washut, an elementary teacher from Casper said about the week: "WOW! This was a wonderful week of learning, creating and growth. I enjoyed the access to the museum, and the many different media and techniques presented. I found the strategies and processes were instructional tools that I can easily utilize. This institute and your instructional team are great. You are an asset to Wyoming educators. I will encourage others to participate in the future and will I will certainly return when it is offered. Thank you all for your thorough preparation and the long hours you gave to each of us. Thank you for sharing your state of the art facilities, they are truly a match the tremendous artists and teachers that you all are!"

Now completing its eighth year, the Summer Teaching Institute provides professional development for school and community educators that is conceptually-based, integrative and focused on original artwork, artists and other original resources. It is supported through the Sigrid See Endowment and the Wyoming Arts Council, through a partnership with the UW Art Museum, UW Visual Arts Department and UW Fine Arts Outreach.

Follow the creative journey of this summer's institute on their blog:

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