After teaching art for four years, there is one thing that has remained constant – the End of Year Art Show. How do you showcase over 650 students’ masterpieces in a small space and small moment in time?
Our school loves events. We have one pretty much every weekend, whether it be a school dance, sporting event, or play/choir production. The art department pretty much stays out of having events throughout the year, simply because of our work space and supply budget. We usually help other teachers beautify their events (“Can you make a poster for the school dance?”, “Can you lend me….?”)
The art show is the only time our department really has a dedicated event in our community. I really enjoy it. I feel like a gallery owner. The students get to pick one piece of art for the show. They open their portfolios, they reflect on their growth. I, ultimately get the final say though, to ensure variety. Work is mounted along with their name, and then, we showcase.
We now have over 630 students at our school. Take away Pre-K kids and that still leaves us with over 500 students. During the first year as an art teacher, we displayed everything the students did (because that’s what they did before when the school was small), and it looked awful. Think wallpaper. It was in the gym too. Bad lighting, bad displays. Never again.
We then moved it to another building in our community, away from the school. The space is light, open, and filled with music. It allows people to walk around, mingle, and get some art in their lives here at the compound.
After three art shows, we have only changed a few things. I incorporated artist fan letters two years ago and felt it was a hit. My partner didn’t want to use these because he felt they were encouraging competition. Has anyone else used these, and if so, what were the results? I got the idea from Pinterest.
We use display boards, tables, boxes, and windows to utilize all the space. We make sure to have a wide range of art media to showcase each grade level’s learning experience.
Would love to see how more teachers do their end of year art celebration. Thank goodness for Pinterest!