This past week, I spent some time at one of our high schools for the new teacher induction program. I was excited to see a little project the art teachers had been working on there.
Prominently displayed in the hallway outside the art rooms was a set of where-are-they-now-style posters presenting several school alumni who had found success in art while in the high school and beyond. The posters included the year they graduated, where they went to college, and how they were using their art skills in their adult lives.
What a fantastic advocacy tool for this art department!
The need for advocacy and self-promotion is a reality for any elective fine arts program. In my own school district, all elementary students receive art in grades K-6, but in middle and high schools, art is elective. I regularly find myself reminding all of our art teachers of this, but for different reasons. For the elementary art teachers, I remind them how lucky they are to have relatively secure jobs and how much their work can have an impact on whether students are interested in selecting art classed in the future. For secondary teachers, I remind them how much what they do can impact their own job security.
An elective art program needs students to want to take art classes, and this happens when students are excited about the possibilities those classes present. The reputation of the department and the teachers is everything… So it doesn’t hurt to toot your own horn.
Great job Justyne, Scott, and Bob. I hope others will follow your example.