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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to school

Summer ends early in Florida, regardless of the hot weather. Just recently I found myself at the University of South Florida in St Petersburg attending an AP summer institute program. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself since so many of my friends up north have a whole month left of their summer vacation to enjoy. With 32 other art teachers, mostly from Florida, I put my nose to the grindstone, got off the pity pot, and we tackled the ins and outs of developing our own AP studio design and drawing curricula.We also attended the Dali Museum and the Chilhuly Collection as a group.
The most important thing I came away with is that the purpose of the AP is for the student to experience and get credit for a foundation college level course. It's hard work, but not impossible. The criteria are based on understanding of the principles of design or the quality and diversity of mark making, if doing the drawing AP.

Though they say we should encourage risk taking and the concentration should demonstrate exploration, it is hard to fit in the time for failure. The kids have to put out at least 24 works in a calendar school year of... 180 days- that means one work every 7.5 days. BUT- the AP exam is in early May, so, really, they need to produce a quality work every 6.2 days!!
Lucky for me, our fearless instructor Colleen Harrigan, fit in time for us to be creative. It is a balance as an artist teacher to be a taskmaster/drill sargeant and still recall what appeals about art making... the spiritual side of the matter.

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