All Grade Levels, Visual Arts & Ceramics, Teaching Experience in Schools, Museums & Art Centers
DISCIPLINE // Visual Arts & Ceramics
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION // Short-term and long-term residencies
Colonial America Era: Face Jugs
History/Social Studies and Visual Arts
Face Jugs (or Ugly Jars) originated in Africa where they were often used as grave markers and meant to scare off spirits. The tradition of face jars was brought to America along with slavery. They took on unique significance in the US where the frightening faces were often used to scare children away from alcohol storage.
Illuminated Manuscripts: Accordion Books
Literacy/Handwriting, Storytelling, Science and Visual Arts
Using the example of illuminated manuscripts, children make accordion books illustrated with their name and other imagery. The project highlights handwriting through a calligraphic approach to letter making. Students have often further illustrated the book with animals that start with the same letter (or sound) as their name. It has also been used as a format for storytelling with folk tale characters.
Punched Tin Lanterns
History/Social Studies, Science, Storytelling and Visual Arts
This residency can tie into the punched tin traditions of Colonial America or Haitian punched metal art. It also works well for talking about winter solstice traditions, such as Sankta Lucia day, that celebrate light at the darkest time of the year. It is a simple way for students to practice using handtools (hammer and nail) in a safe way. It does involve a fair amount of collection and preparation of materials– so be prepared to have parent helpers in the lead up!
East Africa Weaving
History/Social Studies, Storytelling and Visual Arts
We start by reading the book Kofi & His Magic by Maya Angelou. Students learn the basics of weaving– loom, weave, weft, shuttle– through a hands-on project. This project requires significant volunteer labor in the lead up to prep cardboard looms and gather materials.
Chia Seed Animals
Science and Visual Arts
Make your own ceramic chia pet and watch the life cycle of a plant as you water the chia seeds and see them grow. Expect a daily commitment to caring for the plants once the ceramics have been fired and returned to the school.
BIO // Over the past 15 years, Alison has taught art at museums, in the public school system, at local art centers, and travelled as a workshop instructor for professional artists and university students. Her teaching in the public school system includes a full year at Hawthorne Elementary in Helena, the Kentucky School for the Blind, and other schools through the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft in Louisville. She has also worked as a substitute art teacher in Louisville and on a volunteer basis with students at Paxson Elementary.
TEACHING ARTIST STATEMENT // My approach to teaching art encourages experiential learning. Through hands-on experimentation students use the core values of art as building blocks to increased insight. I try to create dynamic projects that veer away from paper-based 2-D art. Children develop a strong sense of pride when making three dimensional and utilitarian objects because they often receive so little opportunity for projects of this nature. People find joy using something that they have created with their two hands. It’s also important to me that I never have a single set objective when teaching art, but encourage each student to approach the project on their own terms. For me art is a form of learning, not so much about the final product or achieving a set goal.
“We had a terrific experience with Alison! The students loved her and were motivated to pay attention and create.” ~5th Grade Teacher
BADGES EARNED //
The Kennedy Center Foundation in Arts Integration: 2015
Artists As Educators: Refining Your Practice
Ignite the Future: SPARK! Teaching Artist Training 2018
Embracing Differences to Make a Difference: Professional Development Training: September 2018