February 15th, 2010

Whew, what a school year it has been! Better than ever, busier than ever with more talented students, more challenges in every way and every day. For months now we’ve been preparing for our big dance, V.A.S.E. (Visual Art Scholastic Event, see TAEA), on February 27th. I get to take 25 of my best, brightest and – ahem – most academically eligible art students to this competition held again at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, Texas. This year, they’ve worked on self portraits, still life drawings and gesture drawings, and now it is coming down to the wire. Less than two weeks away, we’re staying after school late and coming in to class early, putting the finishing touches on the work destined for judges’ hands.

The best part is by far the look of achievement on students’ faces when they hand me a finished work and we get to mat it for competition. Not normally driven by competition, this event moves me. I love the challenge my students face: conceiving a project idea, seeing it through to the end in whatever form it winds up taking, thinking deeply as they create, connecting their ideas to elements and principles of art, facing a judge, and lastly, coming away with feedback, experience, and a better understanding of themselves as artists.

I’ll post more about this experience as it unfolds. But for now, I am busy cutting mats, spraying fixative, and reassuring nervous students’ and myself.