Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's that time of year again!

It's been a busy couple of weeks! The high school and middle school students took a field trip to Lawndale Art Center to view the Day of the Dead Show on Wednesday last week. That show came down this last Monday, but I was glad for the opportunity to take a photo of several of the student artists and their work during the field trip.

Artists and their work at Lawndale, November 5th

I spent last weekend, November 6 -9, at the Texas Art Education Association conference in San Antonio. I attended some excellent presentations. My attendance at the conference was aimed at acquiring new ideas and keeping up to date with the forefront of art education to better serve St Stephens Episcopal School and its students. Several of the presentations were directed towards AP/IB programs in addition to TAB (Teaching Artistic Behavior).

"Make Something Awesome" was presented by two young IB teachers, Audrey Cisneros and Stacy Rodriguez. They made me glad that I had stayed until the last as they repeated their presentation on Sunday morning. They gave several other workshops including Imaginary Spaces, Making Mini Books and Local Letterboxing.

Olivia Gude was one of the speakers. She is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I've heard her speak before and definitely enjoyed hearing her again in San Antonio. I attended her workshop, "Seeing Into Through Artmaking: Surrealist Bureau of Educational Research". There is a video on Vimeo of a previous workshop to give you some idea of the content. You can click on the link above to watch it.

My artwork from Olivia Gude's workshop.

Unfortunately I had to miss the St Stephens Episcopal School-Houston Book Fair. I was able to complete the banner and mat some student work to exhibit there on a couple of late nights earlier in the week. Although I couldn't attend the Book Fair I sent my wish list along anyway. I would like to thank the person or persons who bought the David Macauley books for the art room. They will be put to good use.

Now, for local art events and activities coming up in the next week or two:

This Saturday there will be a family art activity at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston from 1 to 4. This is for members at the Family level and above. The activity will be inspired by the exhibit "Monet and the Seine". On Sunday, November 16, from 1 to 4 they are offering a Family Zone + Studio inspired by Treasures from Korea.

The Center for Hearing and Speech will have their annual Via Colori: Street Painting Festival on November 22nd and 23rd. This event is free to the public. If you look closely enough you may even find me at Via Colori! I'll be down on my hands and knees in the street using pastels on Square Number 18 at the corner of Bagby and McKinney at the very end.

The next Hands On Houston at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft will be December 6th from 11-3. No details yet on the activity, but it's always good and a nice free stop for families and kids.

For six days in December, beginning December 8th, Tibetan monks will be creating a sand mandala in the foyer of the Menil Collection. The opening and closing ceremonies of this event will be well worth seeing. Although the museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday special arrangements have been made for viewing the sand mandala. Why not make a day of it? While taking in the sand mandala's creation check out my favorite gallery in the Menil, the Surrealist exhibit and Witnesses to a Surrealist Vision, wander down to the Rothko Chapel, the Cy Twombley Gallery and over to the Dan Flavin Installation. Stop in to the Menil Bookstore for reading material and cards. They have some wonderful and unique small gift items. You might even want to get a bite to eat at the Bistro Menil. The food is excellent. Reservations are recommended.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oh to be a teenager again!

Before I tell you more, I want to share what's coming up at the Asia Society Texas Center tonight, October 24 from 6-9. They're celebrating their fall exhibition with a Night Market. It's free! They're offering (and I quote): "A festive, family-friendly night of food, crafts and more inspired by Japan." I plan on being there this evening.

On Saturday, October 25 at 11 AM there will be a members' brunch with Bidou Yamaguchi, the sculptor whose work is showing at the Asia Society Texas. Finally at 3 PM there will be an artist talk by the artist.

And if that's not enough Monet and the Seine opens at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on Sunday, October 26th!

It's going to be a full weekend again!

Look at what the Museum of Fine Arts Houston has coming up for teens!
This is almost too good to be true!

The MFAH is for Teens!
Check out our fall programs for teens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston!
"What Does It Mean to Make?"
Art Making Workshop

Saturday, November 15, 1-3 p.m. "Tactile Textures"
Saturday, December 6, 1-3 p.m. "Breaking down the Canvas"

Explore new materials and ways of making art while developing tools and methods that you can use in your own artistic process.

All teens ages 13-18 are welcome. No previous art experience is needed! Museum admission is included in the program fee of $10. Participants explore a different topic each week and can sign up for one session or join for the entire series.
Register now.
Sketching on Second Saturdays for Teens

November 8, 2-3 p.m. Fangs, Feathers, and Fins: Sacred Creatures in Ancient American Art
December 13, 2-3 p.m. Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910

Experiment with different drawing approaches as you sketch from original works of art in the Museum's galleries with the guidance of an artist-instructor.

This program is free with Museum admission. Each month, explore works from the permanent collection or an exhibition. Meet in KFEC. Materials provided. Limited to 10 participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
Learn more.
Open Studio: hang@MFAH

Sunday, November 2, 2-4 p.m.
This is an opportunity for teens to get involved in a workshop designed just for them, where they can mess around with technology and art supplies, hang out with friends, and make new ones. Projects are drawn from the exhibition Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910.

This program is free with general admission! Secure your spot in advance today.
Register now.

All teens ages 13-18 are welcome. Preregistration is required for most teen programs, but no previous art experience is needed.

You can find more information and register for workshops at
HANG@MFAH receives generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Special funds have been provided by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts and Air Liquide USA LLC.

All education programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by
Caroline Wiess Law; The National Endowment for the Humanities; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the
Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children's Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.

If the Museum of Fine Arts Houston doesn't get your attention, try across the street at the Glassell Junior School

Still haven't seen anything that interests you?

Check out the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's Teen Council. Applications will be available in the spring.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lots of Great Things Going On!

I just want to give you all a heads up, there are a lot of things going on in the neighborhood!

Saturday, November 8 at 4 PM the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's annual Naomi Turner True Lecture at the Glassell School of Arts is presented by artist John Alexander. His lecture is entitled Observations of the World through Drawing. This talk would be excellent for middle and high school students and their parents. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception to meet the speaker follows.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft has its monthly Hands On Houston November 1st. They'll be making beaded ornaments. If you missed the last Hands On Houston you missed an extraordinary experience. Glass paperweights, sun catchers, and so much more. Don't miss this next round!

Lawndale Art Center, just across the street from the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, has its annual Day of the Dead exhibit. November 1st from 12 to 4 will be the Family Fiesta. There will be lots of fun and entertainment. Come check it out. Art, sugar skulls, Ballet Folklorica, pan de muerto and more, what more could you want?

I'll be out and about for these events. Maybe I'll see you there!

Mariposas Monarcas, Calaveras and IB

This last week has been incredibly full!

On Friday our Symbolic Monarchs went on their way to Angangueo, Mexico, a little town in the middle of the monarch sanctuaries. If you want to keep track of the Monarch migration and other information pertinent to the Monarch's check in occasionally with the Symbolic Migration 2014-2015

On Saturday I spent the afternoon hanging the high school students work at Lawndale Art Center for the 27th Annual Días de los Muertos celebration. It takes place from October 20 to November 8th.

I followed that up with Visual Arts IB training on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

I don't know why I don't remember having a weekend!

Monday, September 29, 2014

This week in Houston

Fall is an incredibly busy season in the Houston art scene!

There are several exciting openings coming up this week. I'll list just a few.

Menil Collection: Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence is opening on October 2 and will be up through February 1, 2015.

Rice University Art Gallery: yamatane, an installation by Yusuke Asai, opens on Thursday, October 2 from 5:00 - 7:00

There are an amazing number of programs occurring in connection with the show at the Menil. You can find out more at Gandhi's Legacy: Houston.

I hope I see you out and about Thursday night! If not, maybe you'll see me at Hands On Houston at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft this Saturday from 11 to 3. I'm going to go play in the glass!
Until next time!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Beginnings

A new year, a new school, and time is flying by.

It's both interesting and challenging to be teaching all the students from kindergarten through high school. I find myself looking at all the resources available so that I can best serve my students. There's a lot out there. I'll be using this blog to post links, pictures, local art events and opportunities.

Here at St Stephens we've been busy. The Kinder and Lower El students made their mark for International Dot Day inspired by the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

In the meantime, Lower School students created pinwheels for Pinwheels for Peace. We celebrated International Peace Day on Monday, September 22. I hope you had the opportunity to be there.

Currently the kindergarten students are learning about frottage (rubbings) and texture. We've used texture sheets and done rubbings of the bottom of our shoes. Max Ernst was one of the first artists to exhibit artwork made by doing rubbings. You can find some of his best work in the Surreal exhibit at the Menil Collection just around the corner and down the street. See if you can spot any of his frottages. He also used collage and decalcomania. We'll get around to those soon. (Keep an eye out for the opening of the Menil Bistro!)

Lower and Upper El students are learning about Monarch butterflies in anticipation of participating in the annual Symbolic Monarch Migration. Our butterflies will be taking flight on October 10, but between now and then we'll be learning about all things butterfly and particularly Monarchs.

The IMYC students are currently trying out different art media and techniques on artist trading cards. We're working on the big ideas of "Adaptability" and "Relationship".

The IB and Pre-IB/Art 1 students have been working on Day of the Dead pieces to be displayed at Lawndale Art Center's 27th Annual Dias de los Muertos. They've really been working hard. Their work will be exhibited upstairs at Lawndale from October 20th to November 8th.

Lawndale Art Center's 27th Annual Dias de los Muertos

Lawndale Art Center has a number of events in coordination with the Days of the Dead. I'll be leading a workshop creating papel picado at Lawndale Art Center on October 21 at 6:00 PM. The workshop is free to the public. I'd love to see you there!

The Gala and Silent Retablo Auction on October 23 is a great place to pick up some good art for very reasonable prices while supporting a good cause. Admission is $65 for the public or $40 for members. I'll have a retablo in the auction.

The Family Day Fiesta will be November 1st from noon until 4:00. Admission is free. There'll be refreshments and children's activities including decorating sugar skulls. There will be entertainment offered by the Houston Grand Opera, Mixteco Ballet Folklorico, and Secret Admirer Puppets.

Keeping up to date on the arts.

There are several different websites that keep up with our local arts and beyond. You might want to check out ArtsHound, Houston Arts Alliance's arts, culture and entertainment guide for all Houston arts. If you're staying home or traveling in Texas, Glasstire Texas: Visual Art News will keep you up to date on the latest visual arts events throughout the state.

If you want to look at art from museums all over the world take a trip through cyber space to Google Art Project. You'll be amazed. It's a great resource for anyone interested in art.

Upcoming and ongoing art events for families and kids

Saturday October 4: Hands on Houston: A Celebration of Glass Art at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Free. Hands on Houston events are usually held on the first saturday of the month. Free

Saturday October 11: Family Day Pon-a-Thon with Travis Boyer at the Contemporary Arts Museum - Houston from 12 to 3. Free

Sunday October 19: Energy: A Texas Legacy Bayou Bend Family Days, always free and open to the public. 1 to 5

Saturday November 1: Family Fiesta Day at Lawndale Art Center from noon to 4. Free.

Sunday November 16: Celebrating Community Bayou Bend Family Days, always free and open to the public. 1 to 5

Sunday December 21: Season of Joy Bayou Bend Family Days, always free and open to the public. 1 to 5

Saturday December 27 and again on January 3, the MFAH's Family Flicks will present "Linnea in Monet's Garden" in the museum's Brown Auditorum. Free

Every Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is Sunday Family Zone + Studio from 1 to 4.
Also from 1 to 4 Sketching in the Museum Galleries for the artistically inclined.

Saving the best for last!
This Saturday September 27 from 6 to 10 PM is the Biannual Art Opening at Winter Street, Spring Street and Silver Street Studios. The addresses are, in order, 2101 Winter Street, 1824 Spring Street and 2000 Edwards Street at Silver. 180+ artists will be exhibiting new artwork. St Stephens' own parent and artist, Adrienne Wong, studios at Spring Street and will be exhibiting. It ought to be a great evening!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pleased to meet you!

My name is Jean King. I am the visual art teacher at St Stephens Episcopal School-Houston.

I believe that learning happens best by doing. There are simple forms of learning that involve rote memorization and these have their place: the multiplication tables in math and grammatical rules in language are excellent examples. In art we use the basic knowledge of the elements of design as our building blocks. The principals of design are  the way that put the elements together. 

And then, there is the “ah ha!” moment, the cry of “Eureka!”. This is the moment when the light comes on, the sudden spark is seen in the student’s eye, when it all connects and there is the realization that the sum is more than it’s parts. 

Mastery in the creation of art is the point when the artist, student or master, becomes aware of choice. “I paint this way or I attach this item to that in this manner, because it is the appropriate choice, not because it is the only way I know.”  With choice comes responsibility. 

We don’t create in a vacuum, rather we build on what came before. We look to our  environment and surroundings, but we also look to the history of art for our inspiration. We learn from those who preceded us, whether they pecked out petroglyphs, painted Renaissance masterpieces or worked in advertising.

I believe that successful learning is evidenced when the artist synthesizes what they have learned. Learning in art is most in evidence when the artist hits the point of transference, when they are able to take what is learned in one setting and apply it to another. I believe that this is true whether the artist is a child or an adult, whether they are just beginning or at the peak of their creative career.

I believe that my job as a teacher is to be a guide. I point the direction by choosing a project or an artist to study.  I share my knowledge of the discipline. I introduce them to the language and materials. In the beginning I may act as a coach, but there comes a point when I become an observer.  As the students become involved I step back and allow them to find their way. When called on, I may step back in and guide the student by the use of questions or demonstration, but the path they follow is their own.

I am an evangelist when it come to arts advocacy. 

I believe that, if I am successful as a teacher, I will make myself obsolete. My students should be able to go on without me. Hopefully I have given them the tools to use what they have learned in whatever field they choose to go into, whether they become artists, accountants, mechanics, or captains of industry. 

I want my students to be able to express themselves in imagery and in writing. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there are times that words are the best means of expression. It is important for students to be able to express verbally, either in spoken word or in writing. 

I want my students to be visually literate. We are visual creatives living in a highly visual society. We are barraged every second of our day with visual stimuli both natural and manmade. I want them to understand the elements and principals of design and how these effect them and others.

I want my students to question what they see and to understand how and why it effects them. I want them to be media literate.

I believe in teaching using whatever is at hand. My classroom is full of resources, but so is the world around us. Learning from looking, studying masterpieces and really seeing our surroundings are all equally valid. I use posters, books, transparencies, magazines, CDs, DVDs and more in my classes. Current events involving art are helpful to involve older students. I love it when students stop by my class to share something they saw, read or heard that involves things they have learned in the art room.

I believe strongly in the use of technology in the art room. I’m not talking about technology for its own sake, but technology that enhances my students’ learning. I have an interactive white board, a document camera, a projector, several computers and laptops, ipods and a variety of cameras. Each has its place in my students’ learning experiences.

When I travel I do not only take photos and bring back souvenirs to my classroom, but I search for DVDs that are interactive. My current favorite is a virtual tour of La Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudi’s still unfinished masterpiece in Barcelona, Spain. This DVD has a virtual tour of the interior and exterior of the church, short video clips about all of the various workers it takes to build a cathedral, and several games including memory/matching games and games about symbolism.

I believe that peer tutoring is a marvelous thing. In the case of technical skills, I find that students learn faster from each other than they do from adults. I enlist the students in the teaching process.

I enjoy working with students of any age. I find special joy in sharing information and inspiration. I think of education as a dance, as long as both partners are engaged the dance is a joy to behold. Anyone entering my classroom would see me going from table to table, unless it is one of those rare opportunities when I take a seat and the students come to me. I love teachable moments, those times when one plus one equals - you fill in the blank and we’ll go from there! I want to work with students because I learn so much in the process, from the research that goes into a lesson to the inspired creative leaps my students take as they begin and then take the lesson further.

I teach art by whatever means necessary. This means using everything that is available to me. I am fortunate to teach in a large city that is full of incredible art. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston offers Evenings for Educators with lesson ideas, an opportunity to tour the exhibits, and resources such as CDs of images. I use a variety of sources, materials and inspirations in my teaching. From the simple inspiration of found objects and serendipitously located materials such as magazine articles and television shows to my PLN on Twitter and FaceBook, I take whatever I can use in my teaching.

Part of the difficulties of teaching in an elementary school are the number of students that I encounter in one week and the limited amount of time that I can weekly spend with each class. I try to maximize it all by being ready to jump into a lesson and using art flash cards, video clips, slideshows and other materials for review.

Grading  in art, particularly with younger students, can be problematic. My grades are predominantly based on effort, engagement and participation. I have students who come in to my class miles ahead of the others, confident and capable of drawing at an advanced level, and then I have students who have little or no experience with such simple materials as paper and pencil. I observe my students, looking for progress in their technical skills and in their knowledge and reasoning abilities. I look at their work to see if it exhibits their understanding of the elements and principals of design. 

I find that my use of social media and technology lead to my growth both as a teacher and an artist. Friends share student work, ideas, along with the new information and resources that they come upon and I share back. Webinars and podcasting, wikis, nings and other things keep my idea bank full and challenge me to stay current. In addition, I follow a variety of museums, artists, and arts venues. As technology keeps advancing I find it easier to keep up, even while it is easy to get overwhelmed. 

I don’t neglect the real world, real time art community. My hometown is full of museums and galleries. There are generally too many arts events going on at any one time for me to even begin to attend them all.

I keep an eye out for classes of all sorts. These opportunities feed my soul, my mind and my teaching. Museum offerings such as Evenings for Educators and the Educators’ Museum District Open House are balanced by classes in beadwork, knitting, geometry, and the ecology of Galveston Bay.

My goal is to continue teaching and creating until I drop. Teaching energizes me. It challenges me. I have an insatiable curiosity. I read and research for fun. Teaching keeps me involved with the world around me and gives a focus and direction to my curious leanings.

Here I am presenting at the National Art Education Association Convention

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"The times they are achangin'!"

At least that's what Bob Dylan said. 

Once again, it's been forever since I posted here.

There have been a lot of changes and there are many more to come. 

First, I've left my home away from home, my school of the last sixteen years. Good bye, De Zavala Elementary. Farewell to students and colleagues, friends and families. I'll miss you all. So long to the Houston Independent School District. 

There are a few things I won't miss, like teaching art without a sink in my classroom for the past six years. 

I've taken a teaching position much closer to home. I'll be the new art teacher at St Stephens Episcopal School. And, yes, I'll have a sink. Actually, I'll have two sinks!

Like I said before, there will be a lot of changes. St Stephens is a Montessori school. I won't be teaching pre-kindergarten any more. Instead, I'll be teaching kinder through twelfth grade including IB Art. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. At the same time, I'm looking back to my experiences before I began teaching in public school and looking to see how I can use them. 

A long, long time ago I taught as a visual artist/instructor. I taught all over the city and beyond. I taught after-school art from Katy to Spring and everywhere in between. I gave workshops for children at the Houston Children's Museum and a workshop for adults at the Margaret Austin Center up by Chapel Hill. I was on the Texas Commission on the Arts' artist-in-education roster. I've worked with everyone from three year olds to senior citizens. 

Now is the time to bring everything I know and all I know how to do together in one place and really go for it. It is an opportunity to bring all the threads of my interests and passions together and weave them into a tremendous teaching tapestry.

I'm looking forward to meeting my new students and setting up a space for us to create art. I've already been to my new classroom, measuring and dreaming of the coming year. Wonderful things are in the works!

Hang on tight, everyone, it's going to be one wild ride!