Monday, February 4, 2013

Scholastic Art Awards Day at The Milwaukee Art Museum

Saturday, February 2, 2013 was the Awards Ceremony for the 2013 Scholastic Art Competition at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI.  I always really enjoy being a part of this special day that not only pays tribute to the outstanding artistic talents of students in grades 7-12, but also salutes the art educators who teach the students and assist them with the process.

I always get a bit emotional when I see my students' work on display in the beautiful galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Not many adult artists can say that their work has been displayed at a major art museum, so for students to be able to add this accomplishment to their resume at such an early age is quite a tribute to their talents.

As an art educator this is always a tough time of year.  The semester just ended and the new one has just begun. AP Art is really in full swing with portfolios due in a few short months. It is extremely busy and crazy right now and so a day that helps me hit the pause button is good.  It is also very gratifying to be recognized for the excellence that I try to instill in my students.  I find this day a chance to explore new concepts, to questions what I do as an educator (in a reflective, good way) and to celebrate what I am passionate about.

A few years ago when I entered work again and again in this exhibit and got zero pieces accepted it felt like I wasn't good enough as an educator.  I also felt our program was too, small and couldn't compete with the big fish in town.  I didn't give up however; I got involved in artist-educator programs and groups such as MATA (The Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art) and NAEA (National Art Education Association) and of course my local chapter, WAEA (Wisconsin Art Education Association).  Through this involvement I met other educators and got the opportunity to see what others were doing.  I also joined online communities of educators through Pinterest, Art Ed2.0 Ning, Twitter and even Facebook.  All of these expanded my community and gave me lots of people to talk to and learn from. I also made changes to our curriculum at Pewaukee High School.  Creating more rigor and a higher expectation for students in the art department.  We also adding new courses that were more 21st century based, teaching students about Digital Photography, Animation and more.    A huge part of being an educator is to continue your own learning and to take risks.  

So Saturday celebrated the third time that PHS students have received awards for their works of art.  I have also seen the number of high quality AP portfolios increase and the number of scholarships my art students receive rise as well.  I love the Art Museum for hosting this event and helping shine the spotlight on the hard work of so many talented young adults and their teachers.  Thanks to them!  Make sure you go see the exhibit on display through mid-March.

Here is a slide show of some of the images from Saturday.  I apologize for not citing the names of the artists on the works I photographed.  

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