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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Institute - Prairie Visions

Each summer, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, holds a seminar/workshop, that invites all teachers to participate in an interdisciplinary extravaganza. The focus is on creating an interdisciplanary approach to teaching through visual art, music, dance and theater. I have attended every summer for the last 3 years and feel very fortunate to have been able to do so. This summer, the title is, Symbols, Icons and Logos-Making meaning with images. Pedagogy:The Creative Process.

So far, we have created a society on a new planet, created a musical, written a creation myth, and we traveled to the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha, Ne., for a session called, Making meaning with art. Our groups have 7-8 people in them, and we roamed the museum looking at paintings and sculptures while creating stories about them. Today, we participated in a dance/movement activity to add drama to our creation myth. I am not the most graceful person in the world, but I had fun twirling around pretending to be the wind etc.
The seminar/workshop was held in a beautiful facility called, Kaneko Bowtruss in Omaha,Ne. Jun Kaneko and his wife established this fabulous Art and Creativity Center several years ago and I have been to many interesting events at the Kaneko. Check out Jun Kaneko on the web. He's an amazing artist and his monumental clay sculptures are so cool. A lot of his paintings were up in the space we used this week and I hope you can see some of them in the photos.
Today was our last day and we collaboratively wrote a comprehensive curriculum about an artwork (ours was Picasso's Guernica). It was labor intensive but I learned a lot. One of the things we discussed a lot amongst our group members, was the fact that our respective school districts expect this quality of work in curriculum during the school year, but they won't give us the time or resources to do it.
The week flew by, and now I will have to take some time to process all that I learned and decide how best to incorporate some of these ideas into my art program. I hope you all have these kind of opportunities, to share ideas and strategies with other art teachers. The experiences this week filled up my "tank" so to speak. I will return to classes in the fall with renewed energy and enthusiasm!

2 comments:

Mr. E said...

sounds amazing!

sallgood said...

Wow, sounds like a great opportunity! I would love to attend something like this.
(About 13 years ago, I wrote my Master's Thesis on designing integrated curriculum for the elementary classroom...like your group, I saw the time/resources challenge that prohibits best practices.)