- Developing New Models for Art Education
| Introduction | Timeline | Teacher Workshops | Evaluation | Gallery 400 Pictures |
| MCA Symposium Info | Thanks to... |
What ideas at the Symposium were most useful to you?
Teachers respond:

"We need more presentations like this that deal with real multi-cultural issues in art education."

"The idea of developing activities for students that copy activities of contemporary artists."

"Seeing Spiral Workshop projects – real examples of this work."

"Working with contemporary art – taking more risks."

"The collaborations taking place between schools, organizations, and community."
Contemporary Contexts in Art Education Symposium
Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

Keynote addresses:

Knowledge and Wonder:
Demystifying the Function of Talent in the Education of an Artist

Kerry James Marshall,
a painter and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago is known for his works that are a contemporary form of history painting, documenting the complexities and ambiguities of African-American life within U.S. culture. Professor Marshall was a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award in 1998.

"It was so good to hear someone as incredible as Kerry Marshall say that artists are not born with a talent that others don’t have..."

Art, Social Relevance, and Teaching
Elizabeth Garber,
an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona is noted for her research on art education, feminist and Chicano/a art, and cultural studies. In 1993, Professor Garber was the recipient of the Mary J. Rouse Award given by the Women’s Caucus of the National Art Education Association.

"Important aspect of education…making the jump from pedagogy to practice."

Other speakers:

Dismantling the Master’s Tools: Popular Culture, Popular Education, and Counter Media
Dalida Maria Benfield, a media producer and educator whose work focuses on Lationo/Latina culture and politics in the U.S. She is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Art Education Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

"Very encouraging to design a more current curriculum."

Spiral Workshop: Investigating the Culture of Curriculum
Olivia Gude,
a community muralist and mosaicist who specializes in creating large- scale public art. Gude, whose art education research focuses on community art and contemporary theory in the curriculum, is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of Art Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Professor Gude is the Director of the Contemporary Community Curriculum Initiative.

"Groundbreaking ideas about identity and self-portraits at Spiral Workshop."

"Appreciate her view of modern art, but she doesn’t seem open to more traditional styles of teaching art. Spiral projects were great."


Autobiographical Comic Strips
Heather McAdams,
a cartoonist, filmmaker, fine artist, and illustrator whose work has been featured in many publications, including the Chicago Reader, the New York Times, Mademoiselle, the Chicago Tribune, and Harpers Magazine. Her recently published book, Cartoon Girl, collects 15 years of her comics. From 1995 to 1997 she worked for MTV creating original animation. McAdams has won many awards and honors including Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Film in 1982 and 1989 and the Ann Arbor Film Festival Funniest Film Award in 1996.

Using her own autobiographical comic strips as well as the work of other alternative comic artists, McAdams showcased an art form that can be used by students to tell stories about their everyday lives. Participants had the opportunity to see roughs and finished art for McAdam’s comics and to learn the steps she uses from personal recollection, through planning, and final inking to create her highly original work. McAdams shared the questionnaire she developed to help students see that even the most mundane aspects of life are fitting subjects for art.

"I've laughed a lot – I learned a bunch too. Could school be this fun?"

Contemporary Art and Contemporary Life in the Classroom
Erika Varricchio with Sandy Campbell and Beverly Zbinden

Erika Varricchio, Assistant Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art, oversees teacher training and school programs as well as program evaluation. She has worked for the MCA for five years, and has managed a wide range of innovative programs for Chicago area school teachers and students. These projects include creating two videos on careers in the arts with two Chicago Public Schools and developing a MCA artist residency program.

Sandy Campbell has taught at Oak Park River Forest High School for four years and is a member of Surface Deep Studio in Oak Park, a collaborative studio of art teachers/artists. Campbell is a member of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Teacher Advisory Committee.

Beverly Zbinden has taught at Lane Technical High School for seven years and is exploring ways to make teaching more relevant by integrating art into her English classes. Zbinden is a member of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Teacher Advisory Committee.

Contemporary art reflects contemporary life and contemporary issues such as the environment, AIDS, women's rights, politics, and poverty. This workshop explored creative connections to be made between artworks in the MCA's collection and classroom curriculum. The MCA's Teacher Resource Book, including teacher developed and tested lesson plans integrating a variety of disciplines, was discussed as well as suggestions for how to identify artworks to enhance a class curriculum.

"I never thought of using words as art alone."

"It was very interesting. This is my first trip to the MCA and I am encouraged to use it in the classroom. I am no longer intimidated by the museum."

Creating Murals in the Classroom
Bernard Williams,
a painter and muralist, many of whose recent works deal with the role of African Americans in the mythology of the U.S. West. He is represented by Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago. Williams has created many murals in schools and communities, including such monumentally scaled works as Urban World at the Crossroads at Orr High School. Williams is a Senior Artist of Chicago Public Art Group and an active artist /teacher with CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education). He is also known for his skillful restorations of classic Chicago street murals.

Creating murals is an effective way to capture the imagination and to draw students into studying particular subjects. This involves making large visual statements collaboratively. Williams showed slides of collaborative murals he has done with students in Chicago Public Schools and with communities through Chicago Public Art Group, one of the nation’s oldest and largest producers of outdoor community murals. Teachers were exposed to design, compositional, and organizational strategies that will assist them in effectively bringing together a group of students to produce a high quality mural. Subjects covered included creating a scale design, appropriate surfaces, painting techniques, mounting, and display. Williams highlighted processes used by several contemporary artists that can be put to use in making murals in the classroom.

"Loved seeing the muralmaking process presented photographically."

"I will use this information and this artist’s approach to mural construction. He is aware of the practical needs of a classroom teacher."

Outside the Box:
Bringing Community Video into the Classroom
Kerry Richardson,
an independent videomaker, teacher and activist, who has more than ten years' experience leading community video projects. From 1997-99, she was Community Partners Program Coordinator for CAN Today TV, Chicago's public access television station. As Lead Artist in partnerships with Casa Aztlán and the Disabled Youth Peer Development Initiative, she has twice received the Alliance for Community Media's Hometown Video Festival Award.

TV and camcorders are almost universally familiar, but video is much more than home movies or commercial TV. This workshop provided specific examples of how teachers can incorporate video into the curriculum. Whether they have access to a professional TV studio or only a basic camcorder, students can use video to explore ideas, document experiences, define community, and foster discussion and change.

Richardson screened pieces produced by young people in classrooms and community video projects that employ a variety of styles and strategies, including cut-out animation, fictionalized diaries, a Public Service Announcement and a student-produced newscast. She discussed ways to help students develop media literacy and writing skills while they learn to work together in collaboration. This workshop included information on sources for video equipment and studio/editing facilities in the community as well as a number of media organizations with which to forge partnerships and collaborations.

"I need to find a way to find funding to bring someone to work with me and my students."

Women, Ads, and Art
Elizabeth Garber

Over the last several years, a number of artists have responded to the gender issues that are embedded in advertisements. In doing so, they have excavated social recipes that we generally do not think about. The way women and men are characterized in advertisements is usually standardized. This workshop took participants from an exploration of this realm of "unconscious culture" and artists' responses to it, through a collaborative cataloging of some gender issues in high school, to a brainstorming of ways art teachers can teach about these issues in their classrooms and directions their own art might take.

"Beauty is an interesting classroom issue."