Contemporary Art Studios
Contemporary Art Studios (CAS) is a 10-week after-school program catered towards middle-school students in Athens who're interested in art at The Athenaeum in downtown Athens, Georgia, a local art gallery. A group of pre-service teachers and I were given an opportunity to be a part of this program and introduce these group of students to various contemporary art practices through lessons that we were able to plan and execute to the students. We also had the opportunity to be introduces to Kara Walker's work within the gallery and use her work as inspiration for some of our lessons that were taught in groups.
CAS Lessons and Lesson Plans
This collection of lesson is all the lessons that were taught by all pre-service teachers in this after-school program. All pre-service teachers involved were placed in groups and each group taught twice.
Part of the program was to write a newsletter for the parents and caregivers to receive after the session to tell them what lessons were being taught to them and update them of their progress. The newsletters also served as a way to let the parents and students know of any upcoming changes and news for the upcoming session. The following was the newsletter another pre-service teacher and I co-wrote:
Hello CAS Parents and Caregivers!
For our week 5 session, we did a painting project! We loosely based the project off of the layering that Kara Walker sometimes does in her 2D work. The project was also aiming to demonstrate that artists don’t always have to make the subject matter of their work clear to the audience, and that sometimes it’s fun to “hide” stuff within the art!
We introduced the students to the activity. As they were finishing their snacks, we took them into the galleries to look at Kara Walker’s drawings again. We briefly asked them if they could find hidden elements within her work that were not obvious at first glance. They found some interesting things that we had never noticed in the drawings before!
After this, we gave the kids a quick demonstration on how to do the project. First, they were to paint a bottom layer on their canvases and scratch at least one secret word into the paint. Then, they were free to cover up the words and add as many layers as they wanted.
Once the kids were provided with supplies, we started painting! Student mentors sat at each table to make paintings of their own and to guide the kids as they did their projects. All of us were really invested in our paintings, and the kids came up with some great and inventive ideas!
As CAS time came to a close, everybody worked collaboratively to clean up and left their paintings on the drying rack. Some students said they want more CAS time to finish projects that were started in previous sessions, so we are planning on giving them time to do so in the near future!
Our next session will be focused on the School of Art's visiting artist, vanessa german, who is a major contemporary artist! She will be attending CAS to speak to the students about her sculpture practice and artistic career. We are very excited for the opportunity to have vanessa with us. We will be making "Power Figure" sculptures based on german's work.
Just a few reminders…
Highlight of my group's CAS Lesson Plans
I was part of a group of two other graduate students who created two lessons for this program. One lesson focused on zines, and the other focused on collaborative work that they could display at the end of the program.