visual arts

Teachers as Artists: Get to Know Cindy Clark

“The arts make the world worth living in and help define purpose.”   Cindy Clark, BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team member, visual artist, singer (in the shower), piano player and teacher, works hard to ensure that teachers and future teachers feel comfortable and successful with the visual arts.   Cindy is currently helping participants in the Arts Integration Endorsement classes to get more comfortable with an art form. For example, everyone in the class recently played with watercolors in their personal sketchbooks. “We talked about sketchbooks/journals, and used watercolors as background or borders for our journals,” Cindy said. “Plus, we threw in…

Forest Bathing: Being Outside, Mindfully

The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku is gaining traction across Western cultures. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Forest bathing, or soaking in the atmosphere of nature through our senses, is a restorative habit. As the arts connect the dots of a shared human experience, the practice of joining with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch also acts as a bridge between people and the natural world. As COVID-19 continues to spread globally and the weather gets colder, finding time or space for just being in nature can prove a challenge. But there’s no such…

Critique in the Classroom: How to Use A Gallery Wall

The art room is a busy place with projects, supplies, and students everywhere. As artists, we are all so invested in the art-making process that many times we don’t leave enough time to stop, appreciate, and reflect on all that we have accomplished and learned along the way.  My students’ absolute favorite day is our “Gallery Wall” day. During gallery wall time, every student gets to display their artwork to the class. We discuss and critique each piece in a safe and respectful environment. This time is spent focusing on the positive and calling attention to the detail, uniqueness, and…

Veterans Day Art: Celebrating the Individual and the Community

Melissa Deletant teaches art in the Uintah schools, one of Utah’s most diverse districts. At Lapoint Elementary, which borders the Ute reservation, the population is mostly a mix of Native Americans and the white descendants of Mormon ranchers. Instead of seeing these differences as a challenge, Melissa sees opportunity.  Raised in a homogenous rural Pennsylvania community, Melissa’s first teaching job was in Virginia where 96% of her students were minority populations. Notions of being “color blind” evaporated when she realized that embracing each student’s unique background, perspective, and gifts would help her see the whole student and create a culturally…

Bridging the Gap: Mindful Arts Inspiration from Across the Globe

“The earth is what we all have in common.” -Wendell BerryUsing the arts in our daily walk bridges the gap across the things that separate us: time, distance, and privilege. Cultures across the world offer unique ways to daily and mindfully engage in making connections with one another and with our environment through the arts. Here, we discover how a small handful of global artists use found materials in mindful ways that reflect their environment, culture, and life experience. Create a few minutes of space in your day to consider how viewing these artworks affects you. Find effective questioning strategies…

Truth Telling

Image: Navajo Woman Weaving, Navajo Reservation, Arizona 1985. Sue Bennett, Photographer I walked into my living room a while back and saw my nephew’s sons (whom I call grandsons and they call me grandma) using my late mother’s Navajo spindle and batten as swords, chasing and chasing each other around the room. I stopped them both and said, “These were your Grandma Daisy’s weaving tools, and now they are mine to take care of. They are not swords but are tools for weaving rugs.” I brought out several rugs that their great-grandmother had woven and showed them how the tools…

Including the Arts in Classroom Rituals

Rituals are an important part of building a physically and emotionally safe classroom environment. Arts activities can be used as rituals to help students and teachers feel connected as a classroom community. Rituals are used to greet students, say goodbye, honor student work, establish procedures, organize materials, and transition between activities and the arts can help. For example, meditation with music serves to invite focus and calm, a tableaux engages interest, and a braindance can release physical energy.  Rituals create emotional continuity. A rhythmic call-and-response game between the teacher and class members can help students regulate their internal chronometer and…

Utah’s Professional Arts Education Organization’s Support Arts Educators as They Return to School

Representing each art form, the presidents of the various Utah arts professional organizations created the Utah Arts Education Coalition. Since June 5th, these coalition members have been meeting weekly with Cathy Jensen and other state arts leaders to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on arts education in Utah. The purpose of these meetings is to share up-to-date information and decisions faced by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah legislators, and other state leaders so that the various professional arts organizations and their membership can coordinate efforts to advocate proactively DURING decision-making processes.   The Utah Arts Education Coalition is comprised…

POPS: More Opportunities to Refine Arts Education During Summertime

Summer break is when many educators think about, collaborate, improve, and refine their plans for the upcoming school year. Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS) can provide the needed resources to integrate the arts into those plans.  POPS is managed by the Utah State Board of Education and sponsored by the Utah State Legislature. The program brings arts education and professional artists to educators and schools for free or subsidized costs. Read on to discover different and accessible ways to integrate dance and visual arts into your classroom, all available through POPS. Ballet West Ballet West has a variety…

Non-tech Arts Activities at Home: Visual Arts

Visual arts include drawing, painting, sculpting, and three-dimensional object art. Using easy-to-find materials from around the house, these fun activities engage both sides of the brain, relieve stress, create unity, boost self-esteem, and encourage creative thinking. See if you can inspire your students or family members to think of their own activities! 1. Draw a map of your house. Include all the rooms. Add people in your family. 2. Write and illustrate four-step instructions for how to: wash your hands; become invisible; make a sandwich; teach a crocodile to dance; or, tame a virus. 3. Use chocolate pudding as finger…

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