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  • Meredith Blackerby

Art Show Part 2: Projects

The first and most important step of the art show process is the ARTWORK!

That's what the art show is all about; showing off the amazing talent and hard work of your students.

In a choice-based classroom, collecting artwork for the art show can be a little more difficult than your typical elementary art room. Instead of choosing the artwork for them, they have the responsibility of choosing which piece to submit (and when they want to submit it). I find that the last art class before the art show is always a frenzy of finishing projects, filling out art show tags (see below) and getting things turned in.

Here is the process we follow in our art room for turning in projects...

I start by talking about the art show several weeks before the actual date. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the better! I even keep a countdown of how many art classes they have left until the art show so that they have a visual reminder of how much time they have left to complete their art show project.

1. When introducing the art show to the students, I make sure to stress the importance of taking their time to decide what project they want to submit. We have a discussion about what it means to be proud of a project. I also tell them that it's okay to not be proud of every piece of artwork that you create. So it's important to choose carefully when you decide on an art show project.

2. My students also have the option to choose a "specialty material" to use for their art show project. These are materials that I do not leave out all year long either because they are too expensive to stock all year or because they are too messy or difficult to deal with on a daily basis.

These materials sometimes change from year to year, but I will typically offer clay (air drying because we do not have a working kiln), canvas boards for painting, and metal printmaking.

Students need to sign up to receive these materials beforehand. I limit the number of students who can do each material in each class so that I can purchase the correct amount of each material without having to guess on amounts.

I give them the option of submitting up to three pieces of artwork for the show (more than that would be WAY too many for me to hang up). Only one project is required for the art show.

3. When they have finished a project that is ready to be turned in, they fill out one of the art tags that you can see below. These tags are required for all art show projects. When the art show is actually setup, these tags will be put up alongside the artwork so that attendees can read about each individual project.

4. After the tag is completed and attached to their project (either using a small piece of tape or a paperclip) the student places their project into the Art Show Turn-In Bin! From there, I will take the projects out and display them for the art show! We try to keep the process as simple as possible so that there are no excuses for not having a project ready to be submitted by the time the art show rolls around!

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