Residency – Silverwood Park – 4hrs

This week at Silverwood I helped out with a watercolor class at the Shoreview Senior Center. We learned about different types of owls, mostly one native to Minnesota now that the owls have started to return for the season. We had a taxidermy owl as well as some other physical things like wings and talons. The first half of the class was teaching the students about the owls and having conversations about personal stories involving owl sightings or interactions. Next we moved on to the water color of the sky. All of the students seem to be engaged and excited about using the watercolor brushes we had for them. It was a great experience to learn the different teaching methods with different aged students. I have been doing a lot of work with college students as well as some little kids, but this was my first time working with seniors. I enjoyed the conversations as well as knowing our lesson was a big part of the day/week for all of those involved.


Residency – Minneapolis College of Art and Design – John Johnston – 4 hrs

This week in Lecture we critiqued the students work for the abstraction project. The critiques are set aside in the last hour of lab and typically we use it all up and can’t get to everyone’s work. It’s great to see students talking about the work and having conversations around it that go much further than “I like it” or “this part looks nice”. Students are started to talk about why they like the work and with the help of John and myself, we pull more questions out of them.


Shadowing – Lily Yeh – 3 hrs

This week I was extremely fortunate to be able to assist Lily Yeh during her workshop at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I arrived late due to being at Silverwood for the morning photo walk and Lily got me up to speed very quickly. The participants were broken up into groups, each given paper, paint, and marker. Each group was instructed to come up with a poem, a banner, and a presentation of said poem and banner to everyone. They were all working hectically under the time constraints Lily had given them. Lily told me that when she gives people a certain, usually short period of time to work, they don’t have time to over think and complicate and what come out of people is far more authentic. While the groups were working Lily and I went around engaging with people and seeing how everyone was doing. At one point, Lily look at me and said “Big Tom! We sing now!” and she began to sing You Are My Sunshine while walking around the college center. As a student at the school I did not feel comfortable singing You Are My Sunshine for everyone to hear, but Lily’s energy was particularly contagious so I did my best. Lily told me that if she acts goofy and joyous then those around her will feel comfortable doing the same. When the groups were all finished with their work, each of them presented their creations in an audience participatory format. It was fantastic to see and hear what everyone came up with. I also never felt so at ease with a group of strangers acting ridiculous and genuinely having a lot of fun. After the presentations we had a time for reflection on the morning and went around in a circle discussing what was positive out of the experience. It was such a fun experience and so informative that I am suddenly far more interested in working with a young age group.