Blogs Field Guide Susan Rotilie

I am Program Manager for School Programs at the Walker. My first (real) job was as an elementary art teacher, but I have been working in museum education for over 25 years.

ArtsConnectEd + iPads = win-win for teachers

It was a win-win situation for Therese Cacek, the winner of the first ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge. She had been trying to come up with a lesson that would inspire her 6th grade art students at Holdingford Elementary, a little less than 2-hour’s drive northeast of Minneapolis, to use the ArtsConnectEd website as part of an […]

It was a win-win situation for Therese Cacek, the winner of the first ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge. She had been trying to come up with a lesson that would inspire her 6th grade art students at Holdingford Elementary, a little less than 2-hour’s drive northeast of Minneapolis, to use the ArtsConnectEd website as part of an assignment to learn to use Photoshop Elements.

“In past years I had taken the students to the ArtsConnectEd site and encouraged them to find an image that they could manipulate and then digitally put something about themselves into the artwork. One frustration was that the students did not seem to ‘look deeper’ into the website. … That’s when I saw the ‘iPad Challenge’ with the direction to create a set as an introduction to the museums. It was a perfect. It was exactly what I wanted the students to do—become familiar with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center as museums and then compare and make choices about the works. The creation of the art set worked as a perfect teaching tool to guide my students into deeper consideration of a choice for their digital manipulation project.”

The possibility of winning an iPad was interesting to Cacek as well because of her growing passion for bringing technology into her art classroom. She muses,

“Technology has added a whole new dimension to teaching in the art room. Like paint, clay or pastels, technology also offers another avenue of creative expression. Today students are less intimidated and more willing to experiment with computer software used to create and manipulate digital imagery. The emergence of YouTube brings a keen awareness to the need to teach and understand media’s power and influence. Technology is exciting. It challenges and is continually changing.”

You can view Therese’s winning Set “Minnesota Museums Tour” on ArtsConnectEd.

While you are at it, take a look at the honorable mention Set “Photograms: A Cameraless Image” by Edina High School photography teacher Kim Raskin.

With ArtsConnectEd, users can not only access over 20,000 works of art and resources from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker, they can use the materials they find to build customized Art Collector Sets, save them, and share their work with others. Building an Art Collector Set is fun, but it is also a perfect lesson planning tool for teachers. The iPad Challenges are incentives for teachers and other users to produce outstanding Sets and share them with all ArtsConnectEd users.

iPad Challenge #2!
The next round of the
ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge is underway. Any K–12 teacher, active substitute teacher, home school educator, teaching artist, student teacher, and college education major is eligible to win an iPad. Just submit an original Art Collector Set that is relevant to a lesson plan by midnight January 7, 2011.

You could be the next ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge winner!

ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge #1 winners Therese Cacek (center) and Kim Raskin (right) with Susan Rotilie at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Educators’ Evening October 21, 2010.


Writing through Art

It was a lovely May evening last Monday and perfect weather for a walk in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and into the Walker’s galleries with 5th and 6th graders, their parents, siblings, and teachers from Horace Mann School in Saint Paul. We gathered to hear students read from their best work after participating in the […]

It was a lovely May evening last Monday and perfect weather for a walk in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and into the Walker’s galleries with 5th and 6th graders, their parents, siblings, and teachers from Horace Mann School in Saint Paul. We gathered to hear students read from their best work after participating in the Walker’s Writing through Art Program. For the fourth year in a row, Horace Mann students have come to the Walker four times during the school year, each time touring a new gallery or the Garden, and each time doing a different type of writing as part of their tour.

Some students read poems inspired by works of art, others shared original myths or stories in which paintings or sculptures came to life, and still others became junior critics as they expressed their own points of view and opinions about art and architecture.

Here’s a sampling:

Kenneth Noland, Cantabile, 1961, T.B. Walker Fund
Kenneth Noland, Cantabile, 1961, T.B. Walker Fund

A student’s poem inspired by Kenneth Noland’s painting Cantabile….
Target
Circle, Color
Pointing, Shooting, Colliding
Aim for the middle
Bull’s-eye

Thomas Hirschhorn, Necklace CNN, 2002, T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund
Thomas Hirschhorn, Necklace CNN, 2002, T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund

One student wrote a myth about Fillipo, from the clan of Weather giants who was hired by CNN to “stick their heads above the clouds and predict the weather. They are hardly ever wrong.” He received a giant CNN necklace as a gift for his services which was given to the Walker after his death.

Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow, 1988, Gift of Harriet and Edson W. Spencer
Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow, 1988, Gift of Harriet and Edson W. Spencer

Another student’s favorite was Woodrow, by Deborah Butterfield.
“As I studied the horse, it came to life. I saw tall mountains, with peaks sprinkled with snow with a light blue sky in the background, as the horse frolicked in the hills of the valley.”

In a critical essay about architecture and art, a student took the stance that the Walker Art Center building is art because of how it was designed. “The exterior of the building is made out of squares of hard, metal mesh…. Each piece has dents and bumps in it but the edges still fit.”

Roy Lichtenstein, Artist's Studio No. 1 ( Look Mickey), 1973, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton and the T.B. Walker Foundation
Roy Lichtenstein, Artist’s Studio No. 1 ( Look Mickey), 1973, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton and the T.B. Walker Foundation


And Lichtenstein’s studio painting led to an interesting story that began,
“One sunny Thanksgiving afternoon, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse traveled to the Arctic….”

Show and Tell: The New ArtsConnectEd

After two years of work, the newly designed ArtsConnectEd launched a beta version on Monday. Kudos go to the entire team which includes the Walker and our partner, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, combining new media and education staff with project management by Sandbox Studios and funding from an IMLS National Leadership Grant. It’s been […]

logo_ace2
After two years of work, the newly designed ArtsConnectEd launched a beta version on Monday. Kudos go to the entire team which includes the Walker and our partner, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, combining new media and education staff with project management by Sandbox Studios and funding from an IMLS National Leadership Grant. It’s been an incredible collaboration both cross-institutionally and cross-departmentally, but special credit needs to be given to the Walker’s own Nate Solas and Brent Gustafson as lead developers for this project.

What’s new about ArtsConnectEd?
Almost everything! The new site is completely redesigned as a dynamic and social Web site that empowers teachers, students, and museum educators in the creation and sharing of content and ideas in the process of learning about art.
The new Art Finder offers an intuitive and powerful interface to the combined collections of the Walker and MIA, encouraging both wide exploration and in-depth research. Users can browse over 90,000 works of art, watch and listen to more than 1,000 video and audio records, and read thousands of articles and object labels. All of these resources can be collected in Art Collector and arranged as interactive presentations for personal or classroom use, which can in turn be published for others to use. ArtsConnectEd also allows users to enhance their presentations with video and photos from services such as Flickr, YouTube, and the new ArtBabble video site.

Another milestone was reached yesterday when we got our first user submitted Art Collector sets which are now added to the 50 (and counting…) published sets. Educators from both museums will continue to build new content, and we welcome more user submissions, as we prepare for a major push to teachers in September.
Go to www.artsconnected.org , take a look, and tell us what you think. But be forewarned, once you start playing with ArtsConnectEd, it is hard to stop.

ArtsConnectEd Homepage

ArtsConnectEd Homepage

Yoko Ono Stories

Last week, I was giving a tour to a small group of artsy academics in town for a meeting. One of my usual tour stops in the Permanent Collection galleries is at a small work by Yoko Ono in Gallery 2 titled Painting to Hammer a Nail. I like to talk about Yoko Ono as […]

Yoko Ono, 2001Last week, I was giving a tour to a small group of artsy academics in town for a meeting. One of my usual tour stops in the Permanent Collection galleries is at a small work by Yoko Ono in Gallery 2 titled Painting to Hammer a Nail. I like to talk about Yoko Ono as a musician, an important conceptual artist, and her role in the Fluxus movement, etc. But this time, in the middle of my Ono spiel, a woman in the group mentioned that she had been Yoko’s roommate in the 60s. She went onto tell us how it was John Cage who first encouraged Yoko to meet the Beatles because they were composing music in non-traditional ways. She also mentioned that she had given Yoko her first Beatles album as a gift and told the tale of the two of them spotting Paul McCartney on the street, chasing after him, but never catching up. Fact or myth? Who knows? But we all had a very Yoko-esque moment imagining how the world might have been changed if Yoko had met Paul before she met John.

Finding Picasso

Last night was the last Target Free Thursday Night before the Picasso and American Art exhibition closes on Sept 9th and people were coming in droves to see the work of the master. We had decided not to give Picasso tours that night because the galleries were too crowded, but it was clear that the […]

picasso-tours.jpgLast night was the last Target Free Thursday Night before the Picasso and American Art exhibition closes on Sept 9th and people were coming in droves to see the work of the master. We had decided not to give Picasso tours that night because the galleries were too crowded, but it was clear that the people in the lobby were there to see Picasso, and so we came up with a quick Plan B (or “ Plan P” as it were…). So we gave the 40 or so gathered folks a choice: Go on a tour of contemporary paintings in the permanent collection as a prelude for seeing the Picasso exhibition (about 10 chose that option), or stay for a brief overview of the Picasso show before heading up to the special exhibition galleries.

What to say in five minutes or less to help people make sense of the exhibition, which is really about a handful of avant garde American artists who felt compelled to react to the inventive styles of Picasso? We came up with “ Find the Picasso.” As you enter each section of the galleries, look first for the embedded work by Picasso. Then compare and contrast that work with the works by American artists surrounding it. You remember “ compare and contrast” from your art history 101 course, right? Look for how American artists pulled strategies for abstraction, riffed on subject matter, paid homage to Picasso, and took it to the next level. You will impress those around you with your insights and pithy observations. And who knows? You might wind up being an ad hoc Picasso tour guide on your own.

No ‘Passive Viewers’ Here

I didn’t want a completely passive viewer. Art means too much to me. – Kara Walker It was almost a year ago that Minneapolis Southwest High School (SWHS) signed on to craft a partnership in conjunction with the coming exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. I knew Kara Walker’s work […]

I didn’t want a completely passive viewer. Art means too much to me.

– Kara Walker

It was almost a year ago that Minneapolis Southwest High School (SWHS) signed on to craft a partnership in conjunction with the coming exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. I knew Kara Walker’s work was not for all high schools, but I also knew that SWHS has a history of integrating the arts and engaging students in a deep exploration of their own creativity. The school decided to include two groups of students: 11th graders taking the integrated Annenberg U.S. History and Art class, and juniors and seniors in the Advanced Fine Arts Seminar. We hoped it would spark students in this diverse community talking about race.

In the end, the students did much more than just talking — and their responses to Kara Walker’s work were anything but passive. They went deep into issues of race, identity, sexuality, violence, and the power of art.

This spring, each class came to the Art Center for tours of the Kara Walker exhibition. Then, with the support of principal Bill Smith and guidance from several teachers including art teacher Cecily Spano, history teacher, Nonie Kouneski, theatre teacher Chris Fisher, dance teacher Colleen Callahan, and teaching artist Leah Nelson, the students were invited to create art pieces responding to and expressing their experience with the work of Kara Walker.

The Walker invited them to return to the galleries to share their pieces with Kara Walker’s cut paper murals, paintings, and films as inspiration and backdrop. This happened on two nights. On April 26, the Annenberg history students invited their families, teachers, other students and friends to the “ response”. On May 8, the advanced fine arts students did the same.

Some of what I remember:

A puzzle placed throughout the galleries that when assembled listed the range of stereotypes one student had experienced….a spoken word dialogue about what is–and isn’t–power…a drummer providing jarring staccato…shadowy photographs depicting conflict. And on the second evening… a reading from a history textbook about slavery that ended with a strangled scream…a deceptively graceful dance to Billie Holiday’s haunting Strange Fruit…a frightening poem and performance reenacting rape….and much more. Listing what they did is insufficient to describe the power of what they created and what we all experienced together.

Both evenings closed with lively and moving discussions between the student performers and the audience which underscored for me why partnerships like this are an important part of my work at the Walker. The impact of Kara Walker’s work on these students was obvious and their courage in sharing so much of themselves with others will stay with me for a long time.

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