Shadowing – Jan Elftmann – 6 hours
Up until now, I have completely forgotten to write in my experience shadowing the teaching artist Jan Elftmann. We met a few weeks ago at her loft in order to go over the semesters schedule and discuss what I would like to help out with. While I was there, Jan was curating pieces for the 801 gallery with one of the artists. I hung around and chatted with the artist and gave my input on what pieces I thought looked best and where they might go on the wall.
About a week later was the last day of the Art Shanties on Lake Harriet. Jan runs the art car parade in the twin cities and she organized it this year for the Art Shanties. They were not allowed to actually drive the cars on the frozen lake, so instead all of the artists involved created a remote control art car and drove them around the shanties. I had never heard of the art cars before, but seeing everyone out in 8 degree whether driving around r.c. art cars was a really fantastic experience.
This week I helped Jan at the Lyndale Elementary School with an Engineering course for 1st graders. She works at the science museum as a teacher artist so she had been sent to Lyndale to lead a bridge building course. This was a really fantastic experience for me to see how Jan was able to engage with the first graders and get them all very excited about the course she had planned for them. It was also a really fantastic experience to be able to identify that I don’t think I could be a first grade art teacher. The project was pretty simple, using blocks and note cards for the bridge and hex nuts for the weights, we built 3 different structures and tested their strength. Anytime a bridge would fall, the kids would scream and laugh and work quickly to test it again. Jan was great at identifying children who were being problematic and voicing it to the teacher who would be able to take care of the problem. I had to take away hex nuts from students myself when I saw them trying to put them in their mouth our throwing them at one another. The reach that the teacher had to seemingly see all of the students at once and discipline students from one side of the room to the other was so impressive and it was so clear to me that I likely do not have that kind of patience.
Residencey – MCTC – John Johnston – 4 hrs
This week at MCTC the students had open lab hours from 2:30 – 4:30. All of the students are becoming very comfortable working in the dark room, they’re beginning to be able to troubleshoot many of the issues that arise in the printing process. A few students have dropped the class so everyone who is still in it seems to really enjoy the process and care about the images that they are making.
In lecture this week we held our very first critique. John went over what it means to do a critique of a visual work and the best methods to get the most out of the process. I really appreciated this introduction to get students to stray away from simply saying “I like this” or “this looks nice”. John and I swapped some horror stories of critiques that were either unbelievably harsh or on the other end, so nice and positive that it really wasn’t very beneficial. The critique went so well that we were unable to get through everyone’s work due to the fact that everyone had so much to saw and engage with in the photographs.