Why You Should Display the Artwork of Every Student

Image result for student art showDo you display student artwork at your school?

Are the most technically sound and visually appealing pieces the only ones to go up on display?

Have you ever considered putting every student art piece from a given assignment up at once?

 By putting up all student work for a display, the artistic hierarchy of talent dissolves. Students have an individual assignment that is now part of something bigger and they are all in it together. When students know everyone is putting up their work, the peer dynamic in the room becomes less competitive and more supportive.

Displaying the best work or a percentage of the artwork produced by students promotes an inherent exclusivity . If we want our students to believe they are artists, it is important to give them a venue to make them feel that way.If a small percentage of total student work is consistantly displayed, a message is sent: Your work is not good enough for others to see.

Now, Perhaps that is a bit extreme. At the same time, we must reflect upon and evaluate the purpose of our art courses and make a decision about how we want to impact all of our students. My argument here is at least once a year it is important to give all of our students a platform and a challenge to display their work as authentic artists.

How many experiences do students remember throughout their schooling? Often they study, apply, and forget.  When students see themselves as worthy to put their individual artistic expression in public for others to engage with, it’s empowering!

After a successful exhibition, students may wonder what else they can do in the public realm. For students lacking self-esteem, putting up work with peers can boost academic and artistic confidence.

When it comes time to hang the work, do it during class. This process is an essentail part of the learning in art , in many cases presentation is everything.  As Art educators we must give all students the opportunity to engage in the entire artistic process, from conception, to creation, to communication with an audience. This experience can have a profound influence on students for years to come.


Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry

Image result for Guernica
Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time 2 90-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Killian Williams-Morantine

Hahnville High School


In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students begin by reading and discussing several poems inspired by works of art. Through the discussion, students learn ways in which poets can approach a piece of artwork (for instance, writing about the scene being depicted in the artwork, writing in the voice of the person depicted in the artwork, speaking to the artist or subject of the painting, etc.). Students then search online for pieces of art that inspire them and, in turn, compose a booklet of poems about the pieces they have chosen.


Perspectives in Writing Ekphrastic Poetry: This handout describes several approaches that could be taken when writing Ekphrastic poems.

Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art: This page from the American Academy of Poets explains ekphrasis and provides links to poetry inspired by art.


Poets have used art as inspiration for centuries. John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is one famous example, but even ancient poets such as Homer have turned to artwork as a source of stimulation for their writing.  Honor Moorman notes: “William Blake said that poetry and art are ‘ways to converse with paradise’ (Farrell 6). In the Phaedrus, Plato observes that when paintings and poems are put together, they ‘seem to talk to you as if they were intelligent’ (qtd. in Foster and Prevallet xv)… Georgia Heard calls language ‘the poet’s paint’ (65), and many other writers and artists have commented on the parallels between these two modes of expression.” (46-47) In Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art, Jan Greenberg explains her belief in “the power of art to inspire language” (4). She notes that “What the poet sees in art and puts into words can transform an image . . . extending what is often an immediate response into something more lasting and reflective.” (4). This lesson allows students to harness the power of visual images to inspire their own poetry.

Further Reading

Greenberg, Jan, ed. 2001. Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art. New York: Abrams.

Moorman, Honor. “Backing into Ekphrasis: Reading and Writing Poetry about Visual Art.” English Journal 96.1(September 2006): 46-53.


knowledge of social,
cultural, historical,
and personal life
with art-making
approaches to create
meaningful works of
art or design.



Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.


Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).


Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.


Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.


Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.




  • Packet of Ekphrastic Poems
  • Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art by Justine Rowden (Boyds Mills, 2005) (optional)
  • Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art, edited by Jan Greenberg (Abrams, 2001) (optional)







Students will

  • read and analyze poems inspired by art.
  • discuss the methods poets use to write about artwork.
  • use Internet searching techniques to find several inspiring art pieces.
  • compose poems inspired by the artwork of their choosing.


  1. Hand out copies of “Vincent” lyrics by Don McLean and additional poems from the prepared packet.
  2. Play the song while students follow along with the lyrics. The song is played by clicking on the title “Vincent” in the Don McLean Music Player located on the bottom right corner of the home page.
  3. Ask students to reflect on the song in their writing journals, answering the questions, “Who do you think Vincent was?” and “What do we learn about Vincent from the song?”
  4. Discuss students’ journal responses. As the discussion develops, students will point out references to painting and art, and some students may realize the song is written about Vincent Van Gogh.
  5. Display an overhead or LCD reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (The song also references other Van Gogh paintings—Sunflowers, Wheat Field with Crows, Self-Portrait—which you may choose to show students as well.)
  6. Continue discussing the song, noting how McLean uses Van Gogh’s artwork as his inspiration.
  7. Point out the songwriter’s perspective in writing this piece is to directly address the artist.
  8. Ask students to re-read the lyrics in their packet, this time noting poetic devices they find. Students may mark the text (underlining, starring, notetaking, etc.) as they re-read.
  9. Students then share their findings with the class, noting examples of devices such as rhyme, alliteration, repetition, etc.
  10. Encourage them to add to their notes during the discussion. Point out literary devices students may have missed (tone, for example).


  1. Introduce the term ekphrasis and define its meaning—“writing inspired by art.”
  2. Take a few minutes to have students explain how “Vincent” is like an ekphrastic poem and therefore offers a good preview of their own analysis of ekphrastic poetry.
  3. Mention that students will have the chance to write ekphrastic poems of their own after analyzing several as a class.
  4. Share several ekphrastic poems and accompanying artwork on the overhead or LCD projector as students follow along in their packets.
  5. Refer to the Websites listed in the Resources section for examples. Alternatively, read aloud from Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art, by Justine Rowden, (Boyds Mills, 2005) or Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art, edited by Jan Greenberg (Abrams, 2001).
  6. As you read each poem, have students mark the text for poetic devices (or take notes as you read) as they did in response to “Vincent.”
  7. Lead a discussion of each poem, noting the various perspectives poets take towards the artwork as well as the poetic devices they use (e.g., sound devices such as alliteration, metaphors or similes, rhyme, imagery, etc).


  1. Introduce and discuss the ekphrastic poetry booklet, and distribute the Perspectives in Writing Ekphrastic Poetry handout, the Ekphrastic Poetry Booklet Checklist, and the Prewriting Chart.
  2. Display an overhead transparency of the Ekphrastic Poetry Booklet Rubric (or pass out copies for students to use), and explain the connections between the checklist and the rubric.
  3. Have students use the Websites listed in the Resources section to search for artwork they find intriguing.
  4. As students select artwork, they should complete the Prewriting Chart.


  1. Allow students time to draft a series of poems about the pieces of artwork they have chosen.
  2. As the class works, circulate through the room and briefly conference with students as they complete their first poems. Make sure that students’ first poems reflect an understanding of the assignment before they complete the remainder of the series.
  3. Students may wish to conference individually with the teacher or ask their peers for feedback as they write and revise the remainder of their series.


  1. Students should finish final revisions and editing of their poems.
  2. Lead students through the tutorial included in the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.
  3. Allow students time to assemble their poems into booklets, using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.
  4. Teachers may wish to add sessions for peer response, revision, and sharing of the finished poetry booklets.


6 Important Pieces of Advice for Entering a New Teaching Position – The Art of Ed

While summer vacation brings relaxation for many art teachers, for others, it brings dread. Interviewing, getting a new room ready, and thinking about meeting a whole new set of coworkers and students is enough to make any art teacher want to hide in a corner.

I recently spoke with Killian Williams-Morantine, an art educator from rural Louisiana, about this very topic. So many art teachers will be in new environments this fall, and I wanted to share some of Killian’s sage advice.

I first met Killian at the 2015 NAEA Convention and was struck by his story of entering a tricky teaching position and winning over the staff and students. I thought, “Wait, isn’t this every art teacher’s issue at one time or another?”

Whether you’re entering your very first teaching position, switching schools, or switching districts, there’s advice here for you.

Meet Killian
Killian Williams

Killian came to his current position from a fast-paced, ever-changing background and the big city of Lafayette and landed in the middle of rural Louisiana. Namely, he landed in West Feliciana Parish, an area of Louisiana that’s known for plantations and Civil War sites. The entire region has 15,500 people and is serviced by one school district. It is here that Killian comprises the entire high school art department. Talk about culture shock!

Killian had some work to do when he arrived as the students didn’t know what to make of the “city guy” standing before them. Through hard work, persistence and an infectious drive to win people over, Killian now runs an incredibly successful art department. Here’s what he had to say.


1. Remember why you became a teacher in the first place.

Although many college students try out a few different majors, Killian’s journey to becoming an art teacher is on a whole other level. Holding every job imaginable from jailer to database programmer, waiter to cultural correspondent in Nigeria, Killian finally landed at art teacher, and things felt right. Killian says, “The main factor in what led me to becoming a teacher was my desire to help others. Teaching is a vocation and a service. Teaching is good for me, for my character, and I really feel I am in the right place.” So, even if everything goes wrong on your first day or in your first week, keep your eye on the prize. Remind yourself why you chose to become an art teacher in the first place.

2. Know that it’s normal to feel nervous.

I asked Killian, member of the U.S. Army National Guard, how he felt going into a new teaching environment on the first day. His response? “Nervous! Terrified! I was sweating through a suit jacket.” And, what did he say he was most nervous about? The kids! He likened it to starting high school for the first time and being the “new kid.” Anyone who has entered a new teaching position can relate to this feeling. Know if you’re feeling apprehensive too, you’re not alone.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

When I started teaching, this was the most difficult piece of advice for me to take. I thought that asking a question would make me look silly or uninformed. Looking back, it was foolish to think that I would know how to use the copy machine or know where the extra thumbtacks were kept without asking. I was an art teacher, not a psychic! As Killian points out, “Your workplace has a culture all it’s own.” Seek out one or two helpful people you feel you can trust and ask away.

4. Make sure to develop a support system for yourself.

Although Killian is married to another art teacher (cool, right!?) he says, as an art teacher, you are often “flying solo.” It’s unlikely that you’ll have another art teacher in your building, especially at the elementary or middle school level. So, what to do? Killian has this advice, “Focus on developing a connection with other faculty, but more importantly, make connections with parents and the community.” During your first year, find a few extras to attend where you can mingle with these groups. You don’t want to burn yourself out doing too much, but you do want to start building relationships with the people that will support your program. Try chaperoning a school dance, attending a school board meeting, or helping to design the homecoming float.

5. Be prepared for an adjustment period with the students.

Like Killian, when I started at my second school, the kids were not too happy about it. The previous teacher had been a lot more lax with classroom management, and I was getting a lot of pushback. Every day I heard, “But Mr. so-and-so always let us do_____!” I chuckled when Killian told me, “I remember once telling a group of rowdy students, ‘This is it. I’m it.’” I could so relate! However, if this happens to you, it’s important to realize that you’ll have different strengths than someone else, and that’s ok! Within a few weeks, my students were happy to go along with the new routines and started saying things like, “Mrs. Heyn, I like how it’s so organized in here. I can always find my art!”

6. Think carefully about how you present yourself to the staff and students.

Appearance can go a long way in helping kids see you as the professional you are. Killian took to wearing simple, serious, skinny neckties that fit his personal style. Kids took notice. “Mr. Williams-Morantine, only you and the principals wear ties. What’s up with that!?” they asked. Think about how to convey your personal style in a professional way.

In addition to all of these suggestions, Killian also advises you to take some time tomake art. It’s therapeutic to lose yourself in a piece or a project after a trying day. Finally, Killian has this to say, “When it comes to your classroom and program, think outside the box. Your class is going to be called the “fun” class. Make sure it lives up to this name, but also ensure learning is happening. It is important to create a safe place for all your students.”

Thank you so much, Killian, for sharing your story and advice with us!

Source: 6 Important Pieces of Advice for Entering a New Teaching Position – The Art of Ed

LSMSA | Louisiana artist displays work in art gallery

Louisiana artist Killian Williams-Morantine will present “Sequential” now through Thursday, March 1, in the art gallery located in the Center for Performance and Technology on the campus of LSMSA.

“My recent body of work situates human and anthropomorphic figures as characters in a personal mythos, a personal framework for addressing current issues faced by society,” said Williams-Morantine. “With the use of traditional mythology as a foundation, I see the new work as a kind of new mythology – new stories, commenting on current issues.

“I search for meaning – immanent and transcendent – and attempt to tap into our need to make sense of appearances and our thirst for something beyond.”

Williams-Morantine earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in printmaking as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Born in Texas and raised in Louisiana, the artist incorporates knowledge and experience from employment in the military, the oil and gas industry and information technologies as part of his pedagogy.

He managed his own gallery and lived as a working artist and curator for several years. His work has been exhibited in 30-plus galleries throughout Louisiana. His first works – original woodblock prints – have become highly collectible and can be found in prestigious collections such as the George Rodrigue private collection, the Library of Congress African American Arts Collection and the Paul and Lulu Hilliard private collections.

In 2017, Williams-Morantine was named the Louisiana Art Educator of the Year for the southeastern region by the Louisiana Art Education Association. He currently serves as department chair of cultural enrichment at Hahnville High School and was recently nominated for Teacher of the Year. He currently is working on a new graphic novel, “Orgon61” and manages a small creative startup company called Hare House Press with his wife, Kelly.

A closing reception will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2, in the art gallery.

The art gallery is open from 12 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact Chris King at cking@lsmsa.edu.

Source: LSMSA | Louisiana artist displays work in art gallery

The science of art: West Feliciana High students explore another perspective of the trade | West Feliciana | theadvocate.com

West Feliciana High School’s digital, visual and talented art students experienced both art and science during a recent visit to the New Orleans Glass Works & Printmaking Studio, a circa-1800s brick restored building measuring over 25,000 square feet on Magazine Street.

The April 11 trip to the studio, a hot spot for artisans to gather, teach and practice their crafts through private demonstrations and workshops, offered the students a different view on various art forms.

They were treated to STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) demonstrations on glass blowing, while learning the science of glass and the physics behind the art form.

Several artists explained the components of some of the short courses and workshops held at the studio, such as on glassblowing, metal sculpture, printmaking, glass flameworking, copper enameling, stained glassmaking, mosaics and digital animation.

One of the artists, while crafting a hand-blown glass art piece, made fresh popcorn for the students inside the glass sculpture.

Printmaker Jessika Normington guided the teens through the process of using oil pigments and water based starches to create art.

“I wanted our students to experience the other side of art. A lot of times art is seen as a painting on the wall, but this studio visit provided valuable experiences in the processes of some various art forms as well as the end product,” teacher Killian Williams-Morantine said, when explaining why he chose to take the students to the New Orleans studio rather than to a museum or gallery.

The youth got to watch a conductivity experiment using liquid glass, the making of glass threads, also known as fiber optic roving, and learned about the process of paper marbling during their trip.

Source: The science of art: West Feliciana High students explore another perspective of the trade | West Feliciana | theadvocate.com

YOUTH ART MONTH 2018: Building Community Through Art – Louisiana Art Education Association

Youth Art Month is the primary advocacy tool for art education. It is the national celebration of student art and art education. It gives art educators a venue for sharing the quality art programs to their communities. Youth Art Month invites community members to endorse and proclaim the importance of art education in our schools.

Art educators are encouraged to exhibit student artwork in their communities, participate in LAEA’s YOUTH ART MONTH FLAG DESIGN CONTEST and visit their legislators at Artists in the Capitol Day.


Document your YAM activities throughout the year via the YOUTH ART TRACKING SHEET and submit online at the end of this school year through the YOUTH ART MONTH REPORT link, found on the Forms and Documents page of this website, starting in mid-May.


Download the 2018 YOUTH ART MONTH FLAG CONTEST GUIDELINES and follow the directions on the YOUTH ART MONTH FLAG CONTEST ENTRY FORM to have your school or class become part of something great!


For more detailed information, read the YOUTH ART MONTH PROGRAM HANDBOOK.

HS- 1st Place Anna 10th grade School: West Feliciana High School Teachers: Kelly Williams-Morantine & Killian Williams-Morantine

Previous Winners…High SchoolHS- 1st Place Anna 10th grade School: West Feliciana High School Teachers: Kelly Williams-Morantine & Killian Williams-Morantine

Source: YOUTH ART MONTH 2018: Building Community Through Art – Louisiana Art Education Association

Teaching Students to Critique

Helping your students learn how to creatively critique each other’s work

What is a critique?

A critique is an oral or written discussion strategy used to analyze, describe, and interpret works of art. Critiques help students hone their persuasive oral and writing, information-gathering, and justification skills.

Provide direction and guidance with the critique to ensure that students stay on task and address the purpose and objectives of the lesson.

Below is a sample set of focus questions for an art critique related to four major areas of art criticism: description, analysis, interpretation, judgment. (The number of questions and aspects of specificity will vary according to the art form and number of works in the critique).


Describe the work without using value words such as “beautiful” or “ugly”:

  • What is the written description on the label or in the program about the work?
  • What is the title and who is (are) the artist(s)?
  • When and where was the work created?
  • Describe the elements of the work (i.e., line movement, light, space).
  • Describe the technical qualities of the work (i.e., tools, materials, instruments).
  • Describe the subject matter. What is it all about? Are there recognizable images?

Describe how the work is organized as a complete composition:

  • How is the work constructed or planned (i.e., acts, movements, lines)?
  • Identify some of the similarities throughout the work (i.e., repetition of lines, two songs in each act).
  • Identify some of the points of emphasis in the work (i.e., specific scene, figure, movement).
  • If the work has subjects or characters, what are the relationships between or among them?

Describe how the work makes you think or feel:

  • Describe the expressive qualities you find in the work. What expressive language would you use to describe the qualities (i.e., tragic, ugly, funny)?
  • Does the work remind you of other things you have experienced (i.e., analogy or metaphor)?
  • How does the work relate to other ideas or events in the world and/or in your other studies?
Judgment or Evaluation

Present your opinion of the work’s success or failure:

  • What qualities of the work make you feel it is a success or failure?
  • Compare it with similar works that you think are good or bad.
  • What criteria can you list to help others judge this work?
  • How original is the work? Why do you feel this work is original or not original?
Additional Resources

Towson University has an arts site that contains various lessons related to all the arts, including critiques for many grade levels.

Most of the major art museums have some or all of their collections online as well as lesson plans and critique formats for teachers to use with the collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s education site contains lessons and a gallery of some of their collections for students to use.