Monday, September 23, 2013

Art Contests and Shows

Every year there are tons of opportunities for students to show off their artwork. In addition to the school wide art show, there are partnerships between our school district and the county tax collector, the Polk Museum of Art, as well as others that showcase our young artists. In the past it has been burdensome to select the students that will represent our school in each contest and arts showcase, but not this year! I've finally developed a system that allows the faculty and staff to vote for their favorites.

After narrowing down student submissions based on which are the most complete, fill the space with color, and have the nicest craftsmanship, I set up the voting area in the office mail room.

The front compartment holds blank ballots, and the rear compartment
holds the votes that have been cast.
Just cut a slot in the top!

I created a ballot box using two plastic food-service containers. In the top of one box I cut a slot to accept the votes. I left the other box open; the bottom compartment holds blank ballots and a pen, the top compartment holds the slotted ballot box. I placed the box on the counter below the arr work and a sign that explained voting expectations and when I would come to pick up the results.

Each student artwork gets a number to ensure that it is rated based on artistic merit rather than student favoritism.

Then the artwork is hung in the mail room where the faculty and staff vote for their favorites. 
A sign and an e-mail explain the simple process and the voting timeline. I've gotten great positive feed back on this process. Faculty enjoy seeing what the students are working on in class and being a part of
the art action.

The contest that I'm showing in this post is for Polk Family Week. I was only able to send one students artwork, and am so grateful that others actually chose the work to represent the school. It can be awkward when students say, "Mr. Briggs, why didn't you choose mine?" Now I can say, well I didn't choose, the entire teaching staff at school had a chance to vote and they chose.

I have an idea to take this a step further. In future contests, I will ask the teachers to not only make a vote, but to leave a brief comment about why they made the choice. Then I can display the works of art again in the artroom with the comments so students can see what parts of each artwork worked, or made someone vote for it. It will be great to have this specific feedback to provide the kids so they can then improve their work.

How do you select artwork for an art show?

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