Saturday, January 24, 2015

A bulletin board is worth 54 comments

It all started with a camera.
Mini photos are the best!


Not just any camera.  For Christmas, my mom and dad got me one of those new Polaroid digital, instant cameras.  This was probably the coolest gift I got this year.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it is amazing.  It’s even visually attractive, kinda resembling the Instagram logo.  It’s a real camera, but it also prints tiny picture stickers.  It got me excited about all the possibilities of taking instant pictures.  Example: how cool would it be to use those tiny photo stickers in a visual journal?!?!

Obviously, I received this camera during our holiday break.  While taking tons of photos of my kids, my dog, and my food, my mind wandered towards my job.  I knew when I got back to school I was going to replace all of the bulletin boards.  Good bye, cute holiday scene!  I needed something fresh, something rocking, for the New Year.  I try to update my hallway displays at least every two months.  I hadn’t changed it since October, so I was waaaay overdue. 

Excited about my new camera and the whole Instagram-inspired thing, a seed was planted in my brain.  I started browsing Pinterest for an Instagram themed bulletin board idea.  I saw a few, but most of them were ideas where you posted pictures of students working.  Not exactly what I had in mind. 
That's a big icon.

Well, after brainstorming for a bit, I had the great idea to put a quote next to a giant Instagram logo.  This year in my art room, I have been stressing the idea that anyone can make art.  Who cares if you can’t draw well/ paint well/ collage well?  Everyone can make art.  A good part of my students get so paralyzed over the idea “I can’t draw,” that they don’t even try.  So what I did was put up the saying “Art isn’t Instagram.  Art is more than pretty pictures.”  Under that, I wrote out the following hashtags--- #your ideas #yourlife #nothingsperfect #whocares #makeart.  I was pretty proud of how the entire thing turned out. 
Back in my day, # was a number sign.

#nothingsperfect  Like my paint stained bulletin board.

One of my advanced students added a hand!  I was so impressed. 

As luck would have it, the week we came back to school not only did students have a half day for staff development, the next day we also had a two hour delay due to cold weather.  That was two days in a row where we had 20 minute classes.  Yuck.  I don’t know about how your class runs, but by the time my students get their materials out, it would be almost time to clean up.  So instead, I found a cutout of an iPhone on the Internet and assigned my classes to draw an Instagram photo inside of it.  So simple, yet they really enjoyed it.  I was preheating their brains after a long vacation. 

Big trucks are a giant inspiration to my students.   

Thinking there was a deep personal story behind this, I asked my student if there was anything wrong.  His reply?
"I can't draw eyes."

The blog is called "cultured cows."
Here’s where the story gets exciting.  After I had everything hung in the hallway, I snapped a quick picture and posted it to the art teacher’s facebook page.  I just wanted to show off my crafty art teacher skills.  I also wanted to tell an amusing tale between me and a 6th grader when I was constructing the darn thing.

 I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

People started commenting.  Some people got what I was trying to say, but some people didn’t.  Nobody was cruel, like telling me my board was crap, but people were wondering if I hated Instgram and/or photography.  The art teachers' FB page is a wonderful place for feedback, and they gave me something to think about that I hadn't thought of. Is Instagram art? 181 likes and 54 comments later, I believe I explained myself the best I could.  Or people just got bored with the thread and moved on to a new topic.  Either way, I really listened to everyone on the thread.  A few people made the suggestion to add the word “just,” to the bulletin board.  I agreed with them, but everything was already glued down, so I did the next best thing: a door decoration.  Ta Da!

So here is my completed work.  I also found this article on the Internet, which connects to the entire discussion.  What do you think?  Is Instagram art?  Is it a tool?  Should I requisition a ton of instant film for next year’s art classes?  Let me know in the comments below!

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