“Whenever possible, I want classroom projects to challenge students’ perceptions of themselves, how they relate to the world around them, and how they can use the art making process to visually speak. I recently asked my Drawing/Painting II class to reflect on what their favorite classroom project was and why. An overwhelming majority indicated that they most enjoyed my “mixed media social justice” assignment because of its open-ended technical and conceptual nature and because it gave them the chance to research and advocate for something they deemed important. Another one of my favorite classroom endeavors was when my students, coworker, and I partnered with The Memory Project, which is a non-profit organization which invites young artists to create portraits for children around the world in need. I was inspired by the amount of ownership our students took throughout this project, including research, communication, and fundraising. While the art making process was not as experimental or personalized as some of my other classroom projects, I loved that this experience strengthened the connection between art making and advocacy for the students involved.”
"I love to teach how to draw facial features like eyes, noses, and mouths because it’s my personal passion and I could demo it a thousand times (I probably already have) and not get sick of it. I recently tried out a new project with botanical illustration and watercolor. I had so many students feel empowered by the techniques I taught and they finally felt like they had control over the watercolor instead of the other way around! That was pretty rewarding and of course botanical illustration always turns out beautiful."
-Michelle Montrose Larsen
"For my beginning students, I love to do a project based around Michel Basquiat. His artwork is easy to relate to and doesn't intimidate new students. I walk them through the process of creating a visual brainstorm about their lives using words and drawing. They then choose parts of that visual brainstorm to create a series of four thumbnails. They choose one of the thumbnails to create in to a work of art. It's a great introduction into making meaningful art without the kids being worried about how "good" their pieces look."