Teaching artist Miriam Schaer’s “Introduction to Book Arts” (Life Books – Past, Present, and Future – Accordion, Sewn & Shaped Books and Self-Portrait Autobiographical Scrolls with clay boxes) was a 24-day residency which included a class trip and two Professional Development Workshops. “Books in the Classroom” covered a variety of simple book structures, from historic to contemporary, that teachers could easily include into nearly any curriculum at any grade level. It was district-wide and included ESL teachers who made books with their students in the process of teaching language literacy. “Make Your Own Hardcover Book” (sewing books and text blocks) was for district art teachers which developed techniques and hands-on skills that the teachers then brought to their classroom teaching. In the process, book arts was used as a tool for students to: develop a sense of self-identity, connect related life events, gain perspective on life, share family history, express feelings and emotions, resolve issues, understand past to help prepare for future, and address individual fears, hopes and dreams. Kimberly Juirdano, West Orange High School administrator wrote, “The program most specifically reached out to our ESL and special needs population as it touches all learning styles and provides a medium they relate to.”
AIE residencies emphasize artistic process, and celebrate the outcomes of creative work. A culminating event for the community (such as a dance/music/theatre performance or an exhibition of student artwork/mural/installations) can reinforce student learning and bring their work to an audience that values their effort and affirms the importance of the arts in learning. Such events also reinforce staff and artist advocacy for arts education in schools and communities. The Residency Artist and AIE Partner can share creative ideas for culminating events and ways to involve families and community members in the residency. Examples include: a creative-writing night for parents, student-taught workshops for their families, an outdoor “art gallery” set up on school grounds, a mural unveiling followed by a dessert potluck. Culminating events for the community may take place at the school site or in another venue as a park, theater, gallery, bookstore or local historic building.
“The residency gave us the opportunity to learn about a style of dance that is not offered at most local studios. It gave us a taste of the history behind the dance, and it was really interesting to learn about.”
Middlesex County Vocational School,