The public is invited to view artwork and attend a reception for Wayne State College Art Education students who have created an exhibit from the concepts that they have learned from "Art 316 - Secondary School Art." The exhibit is located in the Peterson Fine Arts Building Room 203 (Peterson Art Space), and will be on display now until Jan. 23. There will be a closing reception on Jan. 23 from 4:30-5:30 p.m., combined with an opening reception for "Unintended Consequences" (Meghan O'Connor and Sarah Lemmon) in Nordstrand Visual Arts Gallery.

Students involved include Mark Jefferis of Sioux City, Iowa; Alejandra Orona of Wakefield, Mackenzie Lamp of Wayne, Lindsay Fisher of Clear Lake, Iowa and Jacob Kasik of Schuyler.

“The featured artworks were created over the course of the fall semester as students investigated aspects of teaching art at the high school level,’’ said Carolyn Albracht, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Art Education. “These works include a combination of relief printmaking, stenciling, drawing, and digital manipulation. These pieces are titled Growth by Lindsay Fisher, Passion by Mackenzie Lamp, The Importance of Art by Alejandra Orona, Learning to Draw with Batman by Mark Jefferis, and Concrete Floor by Jacob Kasik.”

Some of the artwork on display will include: paintings, drawings, relief prints, ceramics and mixed media.

“Students responded to various prompts to create their pieces, including explorations of artist-teacher identity, aspects of art and education they are passionate about, societal impacts on art education, and devising themes to prompt their own future students for art-making,’’ Albracht said.

Lamp said of her experience and how it has helped her work toward becoming an art teacher, “I think it is important to know who we want to be and who we are as teachers so we can be the best we can be for our students.”

Another student, Kasik, incorporated images of a heavily poached animal into his project. Pangolins are insect-eating mammals covered in tough, overlapping scales.

“I used the imagery of a pangolin to stand in for the idea of art,’’ Kasik said.

Other students said of their experience:

“As I am sure many artists will tell you the same thing, art is very personal for me. I wanted to discover what I wanted my future students to learn from me in my art-making,’’ Jefferis said.  

“Art education is so unique in its practice, that many people can overlook the fine details and what art education is trying to do for our students, by showing this gallery of work made by art educators about art educators, my hope is that viewers will think of art education in a new and brighter light,’’ Fisher said.

“I want my audience to understand that there is not just one way of teaching art. Art Education can be taught in ways that flourishes, the creativity of students,’’ Orona said.

The way the course unfolded, the exhibit had to be planned and executed at the end of the semester.

“I am very proud of the work they put into the exhibit. It was a lot of work and time. They put forth the effort in the last week and a half of class on top of all their other obligations. The five students worked together very well to see it through to completion. Every time I teach the Secondary School Art course there is a collaborative component. However, this is the first time I have planned for a collaborative exhibition at the end of the semester as the means for students to take stock of their learning, and to share their insights with the larger community,’’ Albracht said. “I teach this course every other year. Based on the success of this one, I plan to keep the exhibition as a culminating project for this course.”

One of the main texts for the course is called, Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education.

“Authors of the text researched exemplary high school art classrooms, and asked what it is that excellent visual arts teachers do and what are the results. From that research, they identified eight studio habits of mind that students gain in a quality art education program, as well as four structures for learning that excellent visual arts teachers utilize. One of those learning structures is exhibition. Students gain valuable skills and understanding when they engage in exhibiting their work,’’ Albracht said.

No longer private and made solely for the artist, the work becomes public.

“Taking a cue from the text, I implemented the exhibition as the process for students to reflect back on their learning, and to make their learning public,” Albracht said.

For more information please contact: Carolyn Albracht, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Art Education at Wayne State College; 402-375-7131.

Wayne State College, a regional, public four-year college located in northeast Nebraska, is a proud member of the Nebraska State College System.