Bulb Archived: Telpochcalli SCALE 2017-2018: Werner & Perez

School Name: Telpochcalli

Teacher Name: MayBeth Werner

Teaching Artist Name: Juan-Carlos Perez

Big Idea: 

From Art Learner To Art Leader: Self investigative art that bridges the learner to the community.

Inquiry: Can art (and it’s creative process) create an opportunity to bring students and their family/community closer while at the same time flip the role of the student learner to that of a teacher and be able to engage and teach their own parent.

1. Planning: What interests and curiosities were brought to the planning by each of you? 

Teacher response: 

Teaching Artist response: I wanted to students to slow down in how they investigate themselves and what they create. Many times students are quick to come up with an idea and create something real quick that by the end of the project, students have already forgotten the reason for making the artwork thus missing the opportunity for deeper investigation/ dialogue. Barely scratching the surface of the over-all idea or intent of the project.

 I introduced them to an artist whose collage work consisted of each item (in their artwork) being well thought out before including it in the artwork. In this very same way, I wanted students to carefully think about each item/art piece they would create, its purpose or meaning and how it fit with-in the over-all composition of their 3-dimensional compositions. 

2. The Project: Tell the story of your project. What happened in the classroom? 

Students were asked to think carefully and come up with a few wishes for themselves and others. The intention was to have students NOT come up with instant quick gratifying requests such as: money, candy, a video games, etc. but instead have them come up with more meaningful and long term, healthy requests such as forming special memories with family or friends.

 Students looked at the artwork of artist Joseph Cornell, in particular his collage boxes. Students looked at how the artist assemble his collage boxes out of a variety of different materials. Each one of the artists box was assemble and put together in a different manner with different types of materials and art techniques. 

Students then began creating their own collage-box artwork. The students used a variety of art forms and techniques to create artwork they could incorporate into their 3-Dimensional artworks. Student’s artwork consisted of photography, drawing, repujado/ojalatas/ engraving on metal, cardboard, paint, color pencils, print making, etc.

3. How did you check in throughout the project to plan and adjust plans as the project unfolded? We plan whenever we get the opportunity. We are in constant state of flux. Though there is an objective in mind we are constantly gauging our students response to the artwork during the class sessions. Sometime there is a need to tweak or adjust the lesson based on how the student is responding or on their inquiry of the project.  

4. What are the conflicts, contradictions or challenges of your teacher/artist collaboration? 

Teacher response: 

Teaching Artist response: Our conflicts/ contradictions or challenges usually end up finding their balance with in our collaborative teaching. thus helping create a more well rounded art experience for our students. As an artist I am very process oriented, I need to take time to process the information, time to investigate, and time to create. And want my students to have that very same time to get invested into the art work. If I’m not careful I can have a student tugging my shirt with “can we begin now?” as their watery, glass-eyes peer over to my partner in crime begging for her to tell me to “speed-it up?”

My partner in crime is an extroardinary instructor who can manage, engage a group of 3 different grade level students who are ready for their in-school day to be over with. After a full day of academic educational learning, our students just want to run-amok and have fun–which can include alot of yelling and uncontrollable body parts moving all over the place. My Instructor is very much about engaging  & maintaining student attention. Student attention span is very minimal by the time after-school arrives. She is very much about quick A, B, C = D and let’s get the students working on something until 5pm (end of class time). My partner in crime/instructor is a full time instructor. We both are, but her time requires her to be IN the classroom more than myself. So I understand it’s been a long day for and after her class as well.

Our conflicts, contradictions or challenges compliment one another. Our differences in how we approach teaching finds it’s balance.

5. What are you learning as a result of collaborating with one another in terms of teaching and art making? 

Teacher response: 

Teaching Artist response: That we are usually on the same page about where we want our students to be in their art making experience. We are both learning how to branch out (along with our students) from our IN-classroom art-making experiences and trying new methods to create and include the outside community. We have had the opportunity to be able to come up with new ways to engage our student’s parents and we are still figuring out how to create a new form of relationship or culture that includes the students, parent, teaching instructor and artist. We are currently investigating new strategies where WE (student, parent, instructors) can create something new with the emphasis of the rest of the school community.

6. How has the community-focused component of the project contributed to or challenged your teacher/artist collaboration? 

Teacher response: 

Teaching Artist response:

The past couple of years our work began to bridge students & parents dialogue. Along with students creating self-investigative artwork, we’ve been able to give their parents/guardians the opportunity to commune with their child. We’ve done this by having our students teach their parents and art lesson thus giving the child an opportunity to lead and teach. In return, having the parent take on the role as the learner.