Category Archives: exhibition

Scholastic Art

Such a busy time of year! But I want to take a moment to acknowledge a big milestone in the Scholastic Art Awards season: the exhibition is installed!

We judges more work than ever, and have more work than ever to install in a gallery space that has remained stubbornly unchanged in size from year to year.

We also had our fair share of weather challenges including at submission deadline time, and for installing this show. A HUGE thank you to the teachers who came in on their snow day to get this work going.

Nearly 400 gold key and silver key artworks are on display at the Ernst Center at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

There is still much to be done to prepare for our award ceremony on February 21. Stay tuned for more!


Thankful for What We Have

I don’t usually talk directly about where I work, but today I am feeling particularly proud to be part of the Fairfax County Public Schools art program. I have been communicating with an art teacher who left our school system a while back to live in another part of the country. She is excited to finally have a Fine Arts Supervisor in her division and has been talking with this supervisor about some of the wonderful things we have been doing here in FCPS.

She wrote:

Our new fine arts coordinator shared several goals she has for the future of our program. They all aligned with what FCPS is doing or has done. She was thrilled to hear more about my FCPS Fine Arts experience.

This supervisor is especially interested in supporting new teachers, and would like to emulate some of the resources we provide to our new teachers and the way we share resources to all art teachers through our blackboard organization. Nothing of that kind currently exists in that school system.

Another common interest was found in an art teacher exhibition. Many of you have read about our annual Artist Teacher Exhibitions through this blog.

Another big change for this year is a Art Teacher Exhibition, which she was unsure if/how it would work but wanted to give it a shot. I told her I know that it would work because I have seen it and showed her an article and youtube video of your last FCPS Exhibit that solidified her vision.

While it’s wonderful to think of all of these supports and programs being emulated, it was especially good to hear her views on our curriculum.

She also noted that all FCPS curriculum and lessons I use and have shared with her are very rigorous and I shared that it is easy to teach with rigor and many moving parts when you aren’t creating every single piece on your own. The resources, training and support make all the difference.

She repeatedly told me that she couldn’t wait to meet “these amazing people” and is curious to learn how they built this program and all of these resources… I am inspired by her hopes and vision for our program.


Working within a system like FCPS can make you hyper-aware of its challenges and shortcomings, but notes like the ones from this teacher are a great reminder of how good we have it. Despite any criticism we may have or hear, FCPS is still providing a world-class art education for its students, and other school systems are trying to get to where we are. I’m proud to be a part of it!

Display Durability

There’s a little frustration that I deal with every year when we hang the regional Scholastic Art Exhibition — mats that fall apart! How do you like this lovely artwork? Very avant garde, right?!

I will concede that most matting applications do not require the durability that this show does. Most mats just need to hold together well enough to be placed into a frame which then holds everything together. Not so here! We hang the whole show without frames, and the work is suspended from its backing. 

Inevitably, a few mats and artworks fall off the wall and backing leaving behind something like the picture above in their spot on the wall.  I’m happy to make repairs, but the artwork and mat are often damaged in ways I cannot fix. 

If you have a similar show set up, ever, here are a few tips. 

  1. Don’t use masking tape. At all. For any of it. 
  2. And that definitely means no painters tape. 
  3. No scotch tape. 
  4. No double sided scotch tape. That doesn’t work either. 
  5. Don’t connect the backing with tape loops. Doubling or tripling the number of tape loops does not make this work better. 

I realize this is one of those “DO NOT” lists, but the ones that fall apart are the ones that inform my list. Maybe I should see how the really good ones are put together. I think there’s a little irony in there. 

Scholastic Season

It’s a busy but very exiting time of year – Scholastic Art Awards season!


In our small art region we assembled a fantastic group of professional artists and art educators to judge 2600 entries. You can read more HERE.  Congratulations to all of the student award winners. I can’t wait to see the artwork displayed in our annual exhibition.



Artist Teacher Exhibition

I look forward to seeing many of my friends and colleagues at the Artist Teacher Exhibition opening reception this evening. This is always a fantastic event and a great way to recognize the artistic achievements of FCPS arts teachers. 

If you’d like to come out, you are welcome to join us intheMcGuireWoods Gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center, tonight until 9. There will be other receptions at the Workhouse as well. Come on out and enjoy an evening of art. 

A Show with Punch

And I don’t mean cookies and punch! I want to give props to the Westfield Pyramid for the excellent art event they put  together this week. This is certainly not the only group that puts together an outstanding show, but I want to share some of the things they do to make it so. Let’s count ’em down.

Continue reading A Show with Punch