Bravo and take a bow! My super six artists owned the evening with the reveal of their thoughts, talents, and ideas. What started as a passing thought that I had to help bolster a few students and the new choice based studio, turned into an event that will be repeated several times this coming school year.
Here is the back stage story.
I had this idea early in the quarter for this event. I wanted to share what I was seeing, reading, and hearing from my artists in the studio. I was moved by the deep connection many of my artists had made to the Themes and how they utilized the Artistic Targets to help guide them to make decisions for the path of their work. The individual Artist Proposals and the Blendspace links had content that was interesting and the documentation of their progress was impressive. Problem was I was the only one who saw this entire piece happening. All most people saw was the finished artwork. The viewers rarely had conservation with the artist about the work of art. My artists rarely, if ever shared the meaning behind the work of art. What a shame. So much more is to be appreciated about the work when you see the whole process.
PROCESS is the most valuable part of creating art.
I have based my whole teaching career on the process. I LOVE the process and I am sad when the end of the piece arrives because the creating is over. All that is left is to display the work for others to view and judge. The connection to the making of the piece is gone. Until you begin the process of designing and creating a new work of art.
One artist had to leave early to go win a volleyball game.
So one month earlier, I either tapped a few artists or they volunteered to present. My brave pioneers- the SUPER SIX! All of the artists did different types of media and different themes. Most importantly they all had different amounts of experience. I wanted a spectrum of artists, not just my Senior Artists and not only the very gifted. I wanted artists who have been creating in my studio and had something to say.
I knew of a passionate and talented Broadcast student so I asked him if he wanted to join me on this unique event and film it? He said YES! This young producer gathered his best crew and filled the library with equipment to film the best angles and record the best sound from the evening. I feel blessed to have such great young people who want to expand their own skill set and experience to accomplish something bigger than them. I will provide the link when the produced piece is available.
After teaching non-stop studio classes, an Art Club meeting, and my morning duty. I was able to get all of the necessary materials collected to fill the library to transform it into a stage for our artists to speak to an audience.
The evening before I painted a few banners with one of the artists and created a few photo booth props. You have to provide those social media photo opportunities. We hung the banner above the library doors so it greeted everyone the next day. I wanted to have students see that something special is going to happen.
After the last class was dismissed the same dedicated artist helped me move all the props and materials to the library. Down in the library a few more students volunteered to give me a hand. So I put them to work.
We rearranged the furniture, set up the white backdrop and lights pulled up the podium, big TV screen, and rolled out the red carpet. Next, were the flowers, setting up the homemade cookies with tea and coffee. (I had three of the presenting artists at my home to bake all the delicious cookies) We added a red velvet rope to the entrance and set up the photo booth area.
I set my computer up to cycle a PowerPoint with music showing all kinds of #Artists Hands for the early arrivals.
Soon my artists arrived all dressed up and a little nervous. They soon calmed down when the music started and they could see their artwork surrounding the area. We set up special seating for the artists on deck so they would be comfortable and could see and support the other speakers.
The audience trickled in slowly while we got our Broadcast team assembled, lights and cameras aimed at our presenters. I queued up a few of the student’s presentations and assured myself that a few technology glitches will happen just go with it. I was nervous too but I needed to be in control and focused on helping my artists give a good presentation.
The night before the Arts Reveal Night I was up a few times with fear that my artists would flop or worse not do it. Then I dreamed that the technology just wouldn’t work and all the artists’ presentations would be unavailable or worst yet…the audience would not appreciate the event.
I was so wrong on so many levels. My artists looked polished, engaged the audience, prepared a great presentation, spoke from their hearts, and made a deep connection with the audience. The audience was so appreciative of the artist’s messages and powerful voices. The passion my artists shared was goose bump worthy. The kind words and care my students expressed about the support and hard work I give to them each day was evident. I was touched because it wasn’t necessary.
The parents beamed with pride and they should! What brave artists!
Needless to say I was exhausted, my feet throbbed, and I was so happy. I came home and was so tired but my mind was racing. I did fall to sleep to wake up at 2AM to rewind the event in my head. I was so thrilled. That feeling was not mine alone. As soon as I got to school I was greeted with kind emails from parents and happy artists. I was told that they felt so validated and proud of what they did. They couldn’t believe they did it but they are so glad they did. In fact several want to do it again. Imagine that…THEY WANT to PRESENT to an audience! One of my artist said her parents could not stop telling her all night how proud they were of her. I could see it in her eyes that a new door opened and she wanted it opened. In fact I feel she kicked it off the doorframe the night before and the door won’t ever be shut again.
We need to model and provide our artists the opportunity to share their passions, ideas, and thoughts. It is such an important and necessary part of their growth.
Did it elevate my artists? YES
Did my artists feel supported and encouraged? YES
Was I nervous trying something new and different? YES
That is never a reason NOT to do it.
I am so glad I stuck with my gut.
I knew I could make this happen and I knew my artists could hold their own
and speak from their hearts and to share it with an audience.