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By Erin De Rosa
ArtWorks , an experiential art program for Santa Fe students and teachers, shifts lessons and exhibitions online.
Late-morning sunlight streams into the museum as groups of children drift through its hushed galleries, gazing with wonder at the brightly-colored artwork on the walls. They gather with their teachers and intently discuss several works, pondering why the artist chose a brilliant red over a muted ochre color. Back in the classroom, the students make their own color choices as they excitedly create artwork inspired by their museum visit.
Usually we celebrate student artwork created during the ArtWorks school-year program with an exhibit at the end of the year at the New Mexico Museum of Art. This year, however, the pandemic caused quite a quandary for ArtWorks and the museum. How were we going to honor the students and their work without the possibility of an in-person exhibit?
The solution lay at our fingertips: the Internet. As many other organizations are finding, online substitutions can help assuage the disappointment of a canceled event. ArtWorks and the museum created a virtual online exhibit to celebrate artwork created by Santa Fe Public School students during ArtWorks workshops. A fringe benefit for everyone is that this exhibition can now be visited online in a 13-minute video, anywhere and any time.
Since its creation in 2001, ArtWorks has grown to serve 73 teachers and 1,800 students annually. ArtWorks partners closely with the Santa Fe Public Schools, arts organizations, artists and other stakeholders to build a bridge between Santa Fe’s arts community and schools. Based on the Lincoln Center Institute model of integrative arts learning, ArtWorks provides hands-on and process-oriented experiences with art. Students participate and learn by making art, viewing live performances and exhibits, and inquiring and reflecting on these experiences.
During a unit of study, a professional teaching artist and a trained classroom teacher work together to design and deliver an in-class workshop that prepares students to understand a work of art, while reinforcing classroom content.
Then the students take a field trip to experience that work of art — a museum exhibit, poetry reading, play, dance performance or concert. After the visit, they have a follow-up classroom workshop where the teaching artist engages the students in reflecting on their experience with the work of art, and they make art themselves.
El Camino Real Academy teacher Patricia Gay-Webb says: “ArtWorks provided my third-grade students with the opportunity to learn how to observe, decode the basic elements in a remarkable piece of art and explore thinking as if they were the artists.”
In the midst of the pandemic, this connection to community and creative expression is more important than ever. ArtWorks has adjusted its model to provide virtual field trips in order to continue connecting students to world-class art and local artists.
For example, ArtWorks teaching artists provided self-directed arts activities to students participating in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Art & Leadership Summer Program. Students completed these lessons on their own and then shared their creations with the teaching artists and other students in an online video session. ArtWorks also participated in two extended learning programs with the Santa Fe Public Schools that are aimed at providing additional instruction in arts, music and computer science.
For the upcoming school year, ArtWorks will still be providing programming to Santa Fe’s public school teachers and students. Programming will be virtual as long as remote learning continues. We are working closely with our museum and performing arts partners to determine available online resources, and then teachers will be able to select art experiences for their students. ArtWorks teaching artists will work closely with classroom teachers to devise lesson plans that integrate classroom content with the virtual art activities. Some museums, like the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, are even offering virtual tours that enhance these experiences.
ArtWorks is grateful for its longstanding relationships with classroom teachers and SFPS. These connections have made it possible to deliver arts education and creative expression in a time when it is needed more than ever.
Online Student Art Exhibit
Works in this years Student Art Exhibit was created by Santa Fe Public School students in pre-K through eighth grade during ArtWorks units of study, which included visits to the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Teaching artists Wendy Chapin, Gregory Gutin, Claire LaRose, Joel Nakamura and Lucy Ranney then led students in creating their own artwork based on what they saw during their visits. At the website for the 2020 New Mexico Museum of Art Student Exhibition you'll find the Artworks Online Art Show video and links to many remote art projects offered by the New Mexico Museum of Art.
Art & Poetry Anthology
Each year, ArtWorks publishes an Art & Poetry Anthology, with poetry composed by pre-K to eighth-grade students during Joan Logghe’s classroom workshops. This year Logghe, Santa Fe Poet Laureate from 2010 to 2012 and an ArtWorks teaching artist, led students in creating their own poems inspired by Nicolás Cabrera’s poetry reading at the New Mexico History Museum in February, attended by more than 150 students from Amy Biehl Community School, Nava Elementary, Carlos Gilbert Elementary, Chaparral Elementary, El Camino Real Academy, and Acequia Madre Elementary. Over two dozen of the students’ remarkable poems are compiled along with visual art created during ArtWorks Units of Study in the last school year, in Places I Call Home: The ArtWorks Art & Poetry Anthology 2019-2020.
The ArtWorks program is open to teachers from pre-K to eighth-grade in the Santa Fe Public Schools. To participate, teachers must first complete an ArtWorks teacher training, which is usually held in the beginning of the school year. Teachers are then eligible to receive two units of study — one visual arts and one performing arts — each school year.
For more information, visit www.artworkssantafe.org.
Poetry Prompts. Try These at Home!
With children being at home for so long, parents may be looking for some new activities to entertain their young ones. Why not try some poetry prompts? Joan Logghe offers some of her techniques for parents or teachers who might want to help their children write poems like those in the Anthology. “The poems are already inside the kids,” she says. “They just need a nudge.”
Santa Fe Is Beautiful
By Jasper Nelson
Santa Fe, you are beautiful
Every old-fashioned building, every well-met bench in the plaza.
Every spring, you bloom green like a blade of grass.
Every winter, you turn white like a wolf.
I can hear the sizzle of the green chile
As it is roasted.
I can taste the delicacy of your dishes.
I think of you as I watch the Christmas trees in the plaza
And when I see your red-gold trees in the mountains in autumn.
I think of your beauty when I travel far away,
And I see you in my dreams.
Jasper Nelson wrote this as a sixth-grade student in Angela Abbate's class at Chaparral Elementary School.