The most memorable moments of the Airwaves project were filled with smiles and laughter. The participants were so engaged. Before the project began, I questioned how many people would be willing to climb or descend the stairway to participate in both works. The idea of a blank canvas, familiar utensils, and treats excited everyone. Airwaves was a participatory activity. All types of people had an opportunity to leave their mark on the paper. There were security guards, students, professors, employees, prospective students and parents of prospective students. As I reflect on the event I am also reminded of the impact Airwaves had on the mood of the participants. The participants appeared happy,energized, and lively. I remember one guy saying that Airwaves was exactly what he needed for the day. This project could expand and bloom into all sorts of directions. I can imagine a blank canvas hanging along the wall in primary and secondary schools as well as doctor offices or hospitals. The music combined with universal utensils such as crayons, markers, and colored pencils gave people an opportunity to become a kid again. Artists did not have to carry the burden of creating a impressive piece of artwork and non-artists were not pressured or intimidated by the imagery on the paper. I could not imagine asking a non-artist to add a mark to a image that resembled a realist drawing. The non-artist would immediately have feelings of defeat.

I can imagine this project blossoming with the use of other mediums or art disciplines such as photography, photojournalism, graphic design, and ceramics. If a person is giving a 1/2 pound of clay and is asked to react to the dissonant sound in their ears will they immediately smash the clay flat? ( now that is an assumption) And if that same person is given a harmonious sound to react to will they carefully handle the clay, calmly shaping and sculpting the surface? This all becomes extra interesting when I think about Nikki's Lego project. What if the Legos were substituted for clay, a camera, or a block of wood? Will potential participants view the clay as messy? So after considering all of my questions, I think the Airwaves project was a success because of accessibility to the location, familiar utensils, and a space to free oneself of inner inhibitions through the use of music and visual art.


I think that our first collaborative project was a major success. I loved that we were able to get such a variety of people involved. Also that the variety of people who were involved really seemed to enjoy themselves. I think that this just re-emphasizes why I love art and why I so look forward to being an art educator and will be able to get people involved in art on a daily basis. One of my initial worries was that having mostly art students participate that they would not follow the directions or purposefully draw an extensive line drawing not based on the music, or just do something out of the ordinary because they could. First, I found that letting go of the rules worked out much to our benefit. Letting go of some control and truly letting people express themselves i whatever way made sense to them clearly benefited our art work. Second, I found that most of the art students were very willing participants eager to help out, not looking to make a point. I was very impressed with everyones professionalism and willingness to participate.

One aspect of the project that I had not anticipated was the having to sell people to come do our project. I guess I almost forgot that there is ALWAYS something on the walls of CCA+D so people (students mostly) didn't exactly stop to look and see what the spectacle was. We were forced to stop people and ask them to participate. This was not my favorite part of the project, as I am not a very good saleswoman, but definitely with Farolyn and the rest of the class, we had many more participants than I had originally expected.

A few small details I would have changed would have been to only use CD players (and have more of them available) with the one track, that seemed to work best, and made the directions eve more simple; along the lines of press play and go. Also I maybe would have done it for a slightly shorter time, by the time 3pm rolled around we were starting to see the same people come and go, and it seemed as though the people who didn't want to participate felt a little uncomfortable.

The overall look of the two pieces is what astounds me. I'm not really sure what I expected, I guess something along the line of simple children scribbles or outsider art maybe. And about halfway through it definitely did have that effect. However, because we had so many layers and layers of lines and variety of lines each of the works definitely became a piece of its own and transcended into something with more depth and meaning than scribbles on the page. I am very happy with the outcome of the work and very excited to see where this idea could go next!


hard times for collaborative work in 9th grade

Apparently, collaboration among high school boys is more difficult than I even expected it to be. I think the particular group of students that I am working with are more resistant than your average 9th grader. I won't say too much here, as we'll talk about it in class on Friday, but I will say that I have learned a lot about collaboration from trying to "teach" it. In assigning a collaborative project, I had to consider what they would need to know/think about in order to work collaboratively. I had already witnessed a short group project in which the collaborative efforts were lacking at best. I have been surprised by what seems to be a lack of creativity in my students to use a variety of materials in collage. They seem to approach assignments fairly narrowly, only using a material if it is put in front of them. I have tried to provide several different examples of collage work in order to get them thinking about different options, but they are rather stuck on using magazine images and pictures printed from the internet. This has made me think about what would have stimulated the groups to better utilize eachother as resources--one of the biggest benefits of collaborative work. I think maybe they need to see actual collaboration modeled.

ANYway, more tomorrow. Concerning the Airwaves project last Friday, I was really impressed with how it went! I think we were all pleasantly surprised at the turnout and participation rate. It was really interesting to hear some of the commentary from participants. I was struck by how many people seemed to think the process was somewhat therapeutic. I too am curious to know what it would have been like with a different audience- one outside of an art school. I think the limits of providing a means of artistic expression in which it is difficult to "fail" is very appealing to most people, and so leads to a positive experience.

The simple concept of having a large sheet of paper on the wall has also made be think about how I might use that in my classroom. Perhaps I would end up with a more authentic collaborative piece if I just put up a sheet of paper somewhere in the classroom or just outside and left it up as an open space for expression. If the students felt like they could contribute something to it (or not) whenever they wanted or needed, I think it would be really interesting to see what resulted after some time. Maybe I can report back about that next semester...

Legos and Airwaves

On Saturday I had my first day (of this session) of Lego Star Wars and Motorized Machines. As you know, Brianna and I planned our collaborative project(s?) based on what we could do with our real life classes. I was to get my kids to make a collaborative Lego sculpture in a single class period. I did... sort of. But, I guess you all will hear about it tomorrow.

While I'm here I wanted to mention a couple thoughts I had about Airwaves. First, I have to admit it was more successful than I thought it would be. For some reason I thought people would avoid participation, or be skeptical or unoriginal are just draw simple lines. Clearly, I was wrong. tens of people enthusiastically participated. They filled both entire sheets of paper (and even spilled onto the walls). And, I really understand how the colors, line quality, and ambiguous flow of the papers reflects each of the soundtracks. However, I am biased. I wonder how people off the street would describe each drawing? Would they use descriptors like 'serene, calm, soothing, oceanic' and 'noisy, violent, angry, fiery?' Maybe we should try to find out.


take down

I was really expecting there to be some sort of addition to the works we left up. But, this morning I found they were just as we had left them. I am going to attribute this to 1. it being the weekend and 2. the community of respect and appreciate the Corcoran harbors among its students. I wonder what other students reactions were over the weekend without any sort of explanation to go with the pieces. Let me tell you, they look quite different after a few days of separation. They are in my locker at school, I'll be sure to bring them to class on Friday. Can't wait to see the other group's work- I hope it went smoothly over the weekend!


Collab at Amidon

Last Friday I spent my first few hours volunteering at Amidon-Bowen High Tech Elementary School. The 4th graders there have spend the last few weeks working on large community/autumn related project that will be posted in the school's hallways.

The class is working in groups of 8 or 9 students. Each group is working on a unique project (a tree, a human figure, or a building). The project idea, including the concept of working groups/'communities,' come from our group of MAT's. None of the developers have taken this Collaborative Studio class. But, the idea of collaborative project came naturally to them.

The Amidon group projects make me wonder about teaching and collaboration. I am realizing that several teachers make their students do group projects. I have usually assumed that the group projects occurred because school don't have enough tables, glue sticks, etc to give to individuals. However, I am wondering now if teachers also innately realize the creative value of collaboration, even without an explicit explanation of how collaboration yields different results than individual work.