One of the goals for when I was a high school art teacher was for the students to be proud of their work. There is so much stress to get a good grade, have others like you, and deal with becoming an adult. Having an art show is a great way of focusing your energy on something exciting. I wanted to give my students this opportunity. At the end of the school year, I planned an art show for the students that took place at my friend Silas Hagerty’s movie theater in Kezar Falls. It is a space that he has been lovingly restoring and I thought that it would be the perfect place for an art show! If you are an artist, student or teacher, here are a few tips from the show.
1- Curating work: Collect artwork from students as the year goes along. Create excitement about having a certain piece in the show. I saw a lot of smiles on students faces when I asked them to bring something in for the show. I didn’t have it as a requirement. I wanted the student to feel free to be part of it and not feel like an obligation. (Featured Breana-Fish, Troy-Tiger, Karie- Rooster & Eagle, Sam- Animation & Cat).
2- Find a location: Find a space that has a large amount of room. A local town hall, fire station or restaurant may work. Having a show outside of the school can influence other folks in the town to attend. If they don’t have a student at the school, they may not attend it. This can be a community building show.
3- Hanging Work: Think about how the work can be hung. Most places do no like it when holes are added to walls. Think about other ways of hanging work: bringing in some boards, hanging on curtains, using artist masking tape, using binder clips, etc.
4- Hanging Show- Having students help install the show gives them confidence about what else they can do. Once you see how to set things up, it may inspire interest in creating work for more shows. Here, Jackie’s smile really shows how proud she is of the work that she has created and was a great help installing. Thanks also to Megan and a few of my friends who helped install as well. (Thanks Christina and Rebecca!)
5. Excitement for the show: Encourage students to create work for the show. As an artist, scheduling a show is a way of actually getting work done. If I have a deadline, I am way more productive. Haley created this amazing piece to be in the show. Any moment she could find she worked on it. It was great to see her dedication to the piece.
6. Opening: Share with the local paper, Facebook page, and create posters that can be hung about the show. Contact local businesses to see if they are donate food or drinks for the opening. Our local grocery store, Call’s Shop’n Save graciously donated some soda water for the event.
7. Special Thanks! Below is Mr. Mayer (my partner and was the Digital Arts teacher) and Mrs. Shields (she is the art teacher whom I substitute taught for). Silas Hagerty (owner of the Kezar Falls Theater) and Don Isaacs (school board). Thanks everyone for your influence, your enthusiasm, and dedication to the students. It was such an incredible experience for me and I hope that it was influential for the students as well.
If you have any questions just send me email. I loved having shows and it would be great to help you with yours!