Do 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.