April 18, 2012

We Never Win!

It's that time again! The district wide art show! Every year I pick 8 pieces, beautifully expressive pieces that hang on the museum walls amidst all the other work. My selections usually have no ribbons or bows. Most of our art work hangs at feet level, so we crouch down to take awkward pictures of the student and teacher (me) by their work. We do our best.


Stop RUINING my post blogger;)
I hope we get along better in the morning.

The kids always ask me, "Why isn't there a ribbon on mine?" I playfully respond, "oh don't worry about that we NEVER win! Art shows aren't for winning, they are for seeing everyone's art and eating the fruit and cheese."

Honestly, I have no idea why we never win! I am exaggerating a little. We've won a few big ribbons and even the cover art for the program, but I have no idea WHY? The art I chose was on a whim and I felt there were many more strong pieces. But, for the past 6 years I've had a very low percentage of "winners" as compared with the other schools, but I'm not competitive! HA!

But this is a kids art show, so how competitive can I get?

This year, I decided to change my tactic. I am choosing the STUDENTS I wanted to have the experience of going to the museum NOT THE ART WORK! My goal is to get 100% of my selected students to attend the museum opening. The most I ever got to go was five out of eight. Here is the work, or I should say the students selected, there might have been a few stronger pieces, but these are consistent and developing young artists. They have been role models, done homework for art, showed passion for being creative, and most of all done this consistently for all the years they have been my students. It's time to celebrate the kids who ALWAYS do the right thing! We are celebrating motivation and creativity and (hopefully 100% attendance to the museum opening.) After all, I am so appreciative that the museum hosts our students.

Here are my ideas for selections; there I left a few at school. . .and I'm having second thoughts!

Do you have a district wide art show? Do they give "prizes"? What do you think about rewarding art work with ribbons and awards?


Mrs E (in Texas) said...

I work in a rather large district in Tx,(51 elementaries, not sue how many jr highs, and 6 high schools). We do a wonderful YAM exhibit al a local museum every year, and every student who has art in the show receives a Artists ribbon at the show. Your show sounds much more like a competition. You should make some great pins for your artists to wear identifying them as the artists. Your kiddos would feel special, it would take away the sting of not receiving district ribbons, and I bet people would sit up and take notice....

Phyl said...

Our district is of course much smaller than yours, so that makes a difference in how things are done I am sure.

We will be having a K-12 art show. Our whole district is located in one big building. We have 2 art teachers and together, with the help of a few kids, we will hang it all. I make sure every child is represented in the show, and some are represented more than once. There are no ribbons; I explain it is a SHOW, not a CONTEST, and I encourage all kids to bring their parents to see the show. The kids are all proud to see their work on display and I see no need to judge them. We will be holding the show on the early evening of the annual school budget vote, right before a high school concert. It's a busy day in the school; our union also sponsors a basket raffle with proceeds going to a scholarship fund.

Who does the jurying for your show? Art teachers? Administrators?

There are a couple of regional shows for our high school students to enter, and those are juried shows.

I do select several pieces each year after the show, for framing and permanent display in the school hallway. Over the years, the PTSA donated lots of $$ to pay for framing, and my framer also has donated me lots of old frames and scrap mat board to help save us money. Our PTSA disbanded last June though so I'm not sure how I'm going to pay for framing costs this year.

Principles of Heart said...

When we have our art show, we are supplied with a blue ribbon with the year and 'art show participant'. It is a competition, but at the elementary level no ribbons are displayed. The kids just find out at school from their teachers. Maybe you can make some ribbons of your own to hang or hand out at the reception.
Good luck this year!

Unknown said...

I am the only art teacher in our small district, I teach K-6 right now but I'm expanding to K-8 next year. Our art show is coming up next week and I have been thinking a lot about the judging and awards. I don't feel there is a need to judge art, and it results in 2 kids per grade level feeling great and the rest feeling like they're rotten artists. The kids are already expecting "winners" to be chosen for this year, so I guess I'll go on with that, but I think this will be the last time. Next year I think I'll just have participant ribbons and then a small celebration party in class after the art show. This year the kids were really motivated by the possibility of winning. I just don't want to see anyone feel bad after creating something they're so proud of. :(

Shawsha (The Art Teacher Lady)

Anonymous said...

That's a tough question and everyone made valid points. Our district had a juried show for the first 25 years I was here and then the secondary schools didn't want to show with the elementary school anymore. We have 3 displays at the board of education throughout the year (no winners or ribbons), a Youth Art Month show where the winner gets their art on a billboard for the Month of March, and a couple of other community "displays" without winners or ribbons. I had my 3rd and 4th grade students participate in the local recycling center poster contest because they were giving CASH prizes and one of my 4th graders took 3rd place and our school gets $750 to purchase art supplies! Yowza! I wasn't even going to do it until they said they were giving away over $3,000 dollars!We just found out last Friday and it is such a blessing because I really need new kiln furniture, clay and glaze now that my kiln is up and running.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and Erica, the work you chose for the show is BEAUTIFUL and it is a crying shame they make you hang it at "foot level"! Get that changed, would ya?LOL

Paintedpaper said...

When I started teaching I never had a juried art show at elementary. I personally want all my students to be proud of their artwork, no competition. Parents were really happy that I stopped ribbons and the juried shows at the elementary level. Now, I hang at least 4 projects for every child. Yes, some kids are much better then others at art but I want every student to want to create. Juried Art shows do not start until Jr. High level at our school and by then the students who have really found their talent shine the show is also off campus. We had one student who was shy and tried her best at art in the elementary now she is in High School and wants to be an Art Teacher. I know her parents have said all the positive experiences in art from the past has helped her overcome her fears of OCD. That I guess is why I do not do ribbons in elementary. I want everyone too succeed. I agree with Phyl, I too explain it is a show not a contest. Everyone has different opinions this is just my 2 cents. :)

Marcia Beckett said...

We participate in the regional art and state art shows. I agree that it is disheartening when the kids don't get ribbons. It's so subjective anyways and I never know how they pick what they pick...

Mrs. C said...

I think they are all winners! Make them up some ribbons or certificates from you to show them how special you think they all are! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, can you change the name of your event to an "art fair",
"fine arts evening" or "art exhibit" instead? That way, ribbons wouldn't have to be awarded and all students will be excited to show parents their great work! You can always get your kids some "participant" ribbons if you want to, and that might make them feel special. It's a lot of work to hang art from each and every student, but it's worth it in the end. Good luck, and your student work is great. Cynthia

Unknown said...


Just got back from the local trophy shop and I ordered medals (by the way not cheap!) But I think it will be worth it to see their pride!

By the way, just to be clear, this is a separate art show the town, school district and local museum put on. So I really don't have a say in too much!!! A lot of the art teachers get a kick out of "winning" we all take it in good fun and never understand the "winners." It has actually become cool not to win for us since we don't understand the concept of judging kids art in an exhibition setting. It is all in good fun. . . even the title to my post is a little tongue in cheek.

For many years I've done art shows in this district, private schools etc. and to be honest I'm exhausted by the thought of it. It is harder then writing a thesis paper trying to do it on your own, takes me weeks and isn't that well attended so I'm going to work smarter not harder. I will do an after school art making workshop open to parents in June to promote artistic behaviors and the art program. Our halls are always covered in art and I think that works better for our district. There's nothing like putting up every kids work and only having a small percentage show up! I like more interactive events myself too!