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Artist in Residence

Recently, a colleague nominated me for our local ABC Channel 5’s One Classroom at a Time Education Grant for $1,000. You can view the video of the SURPRISE all-school assembly my school had for me here!  (Warning: I cry like a baby!)  I was completely blown away and so grateful for the support I received from everyone!  My immediate thought when I was awarded the grant was not to buy supplies for the art room, but to give my students a learning experience that would impact their lives for years to come.  I believe that a collaborative mosaic would be an excellent and authentic example of such an experience.

The school I teach in is a very new school and a very large school at that, with an enrollment of over 800 students in 28 sections.  Believe it or not, I see all of them for 45 minutes once a week.  For the last three years, we have been working hard to define who we are and to build a strong community of educators, support staff, parents and students.  I believe this collaborative work will allow students and teachers a venue to express our identity, voice our aspirations and build school pride.

One of the reasons I chose a mosaic mural is simply due to my previous experience with mosaic artist, Concetta Morales, while I was in Junior High.   This encounter impacts my life to this day; I remember collaborating with peers to plan a design that reflected our school culture; working with others to create an image greater than what we could on our own; leaving behind a remnant of who we were.  That mosaic mural still hangs in the hall as you enter the Junior High; a collection of individual tiles held together by glue and grout, and a metaphor for the community created within school walls.

I hope I can provide a creative experience like that in my own art room; in fact, I am hoping to get the very same artist I worked with over 16 years ago to work with my students!

Have you ever invited a visiting artist into your classroom?

Please share how it affected your students and their work!

What advice can you give about securing and integrating an Artist in Residency experience?