What is good art?

New semester and 150 new kids to get to know and introduce to the TAB art room. Taking a start from Melissa Purtee when she discussed “good art” with her students, I also decided to pose this question. But I took a little different approach.

First I had them make some art. My 7th and 8th graders got together in groups of 3-4 and received a bag of sculpture stuff. “Art challenge in a bag” is something I have done many times before and I already had the bags prepped. They had about 15 minutes to make an animal/creature. We had a points system with points for using all the materials, bonus for NOT using tape, adding color, etc. After they created, we talked about what characteristics “good art” should have. Then they had to decide, did they make good art? The answers were happily a resounding yes!

I had 6th graders do a similar series of art and discussion, but we did the “roll a drawing” game before having our discussion. Overall, I was very pleased with the first day and the kids all enjoyed their first day in art.

The next day we talked about what is an art studio and how should we use and share this community space. After talking about the general idea of a studio, what is in it and how it is used, I told them that this is their art studio. But it is shared by 150 kids every day. I compared the community studio to the idea of sharing a room with a sibling vs having your own bedroom. What is different when you share? Then, together in small groups then whole class we discussed safety, respect and responsibility as it applies to the art room. We used that to design our “community agreements” aka group norms aka class rules. This all period lesson was much more tedious for all of us, but it is necessary in my high needs school to set clear expectations.

Thursday and Friday we did Artistic habits around the room. Click to see more. Which went well and the kids were engaged.

Then we were hit by the ” Snowmageddon” … no school Monday or Tuesday… then 2-hour late start on Wednesday and Thursday… and 2-hour early dismissal on Friday. So we continued with some artistic habits centers, as well as taking in some Bob Ross. With more snow, this weekend, not sure when we will have school again… but eventually we will get into Draw around the room.