Arts in Education Week is September 9-15th and what better way to promote the Arts in Education than to make what you and your young artists do every single day more visible to other teachers, administrators, and the community?
Here are nine ways to boost visibility and support for your art program…
1. Art Shows/Nights/Open Studios
Holding an Art Exhibit and awarding students who have shown tremendous effort increases the ‘buzz’ around your art program. You can include an interactive activity for students and parents to work on as they attend- or the promise of free food always helps attendance! Some local grocery stores or bakeries will even donate treats in exchange for free marketing- so don’t be afraid to ask! The worst they could say is, “No”!
Posting objectives is said to help with student retention. It helps solidify what outcome you want the students to achieve and helps them to remember what they learned. When they remember what they have learned, they can communicate that to those who ask- their homeroom teachers, their parents, etc… AND if the principal walks in and asks what they are working on, and they go all deer in headlights, they can check the board to remind themselves.
3. Mascot Art
Instead of a holiday or themed subject, swap it for your school’s mascot. We are the GATORS, so instead of a dragon eye, we made a GATOR eye, and displayed them with a catchy phrase. This can work with a contest, too. For example, we’ve had a “best dressed gator” coloring contest.
4. Press Releases
Anytime something out of the ordinary happens, take a picture. Whenever you do something for the community, raise awareness for something around the school or do any type of special activity with your Art Club, consider writing a quick summary of the activity. Send it to your district’s PR person and submit through media, assuming you have a blanket photo release form for written parental permission.
5. Service Learning
Speaking of doing something for the community, consider partnering up with a local nonprofit organization to complete a Service Learning project. Service Learning features your students creating something to help improve an issue they care about. Through Service Learning, students can practice social responsibility through the Visual Arts.
I’ve been a huge fan of Artsonia for a while now. It’s an online Art Gallery that displays student artwork. I use it as a way to show artwork throughout the year to parents and family, but it also serves as a fundraiser for your classroom.
How it works is I take snapshots of the students’ projects, then post them through an app on my phone, and the parents are notified of new student artwork.
There’s an initial setup of student rosters, gathering permission and parent email addresses, but if you have a spreadsheet (or can get your hands on one from the front office), it goes pretty quickly.
It’s an easy way for parents to share their kid’s work with family and friends, but for me, it’s an easy way to post class projects of student work anonymously (they are each assigned screen names) on our school social media pages.
There are more ways to use Artsonia to promote and support your program, which you can check out on their website.
7. Displaying Art
Take an interesting project and tack it up somewhere around the school. A collaborative project is great for this. Students love to stop and search for their own contribution. Bonus points for combining with #2 by typing up the objective to display along with the project!
8. Art Awards
Ask if your principal would recognize your artists by passing out participation certificates or ribbons to high achieving artists at school recognition ceremonies. If your school doesn’t already have award ceremonies, come up with some superlative art awards and print off certificates to send home at the end of the year!
Contests drum up the hype around the school. Students ask homeroom teachers to hand in their contest entries, and the teachers are seeing what they are creating, and therefore get a glimpse at what they are achieving in your classroom. Having a coloring contest is a cheap idea! It’s really cheap to copy off those sheets, and a small incentive like a popcorn party for the top winners can motivate students to enter.
This year, when talking up your Art Program around the school, keep your focus on creating a buzz about what’s happening in the Art Room. Even if you are an Art Teacher who’s on the quiet side, or you tend to keep to yourself, you can use any or all of these strategies to loudly promote your program!
By making your young artists’ work visible in your school and community, you are supporting and enhancing your students’ efforts in your classroom!