As I continue to explore the many ways in which art can enrich my students lives I have been able to open this experience up with my new found access to a school gallery. When I taught in Philadelphia there were six bulletin boards. One of which contained my advisories winning attendance stats, another with information about social services available through the school, and a few others for school policies, upcoming events, and even student achievement statistics. However there was no bulletin board for student work, let alone large pieces of artwork. So my classroom was my gallery and my many detentionees were my curators. (It was a school for students struggling with behavior issues, among other things.) I did, at one point, tape together two of those science fair tri-folds together and create a movable wall that could sit in the hallway outside of my classroom and display artwork, but despite our best efforts it was easily damaged and knocked over. Not ideal. At Stone Ridge I do not have anyone in for detention, ever, but I do have a gallery.
Our school gallery is a wide brick corridor with gorgeous windows and nails for hanging artwork. If needed there is also a long piece of molding close to the ceiling tiles lining the corridor that can be used with a rod and hook hanging system as well. It is fantastic. The whole art department shares this space with an ongoing rotation of different classes artwork displayed.
As a conclusion to our summer of art, I asked my students to mount and frame their work, and then decide how they wanted it displayed. They curated their own show. Did they want to organize it by size, color, movement, project? My students chose to hang the artwork by project, and then size. After their work was done I sent out an announcement and invited the remaining summer staff and faculty to join us. In taking ownership of creating an experience in a space, my students were asked to be brave, put their own work on display, and acknowledge their accomplishments. I think this is one more way that art can enrich my students lives. Also, our turnout was great. Our head of school, head of middle school and head of upper school along with twenty or so other faculty and staff members joined us for lemonade, cookies, and art!