Every year (for the past 10, anyway), we travel to Iowa Western for their juried art show and workshops as an all-day field trip. They really do an outstanding job with the workshops, the art show is always of very high quality, and the awards ceremony is nicely done. On top of that, the kids love the fact they get prize money for gold and silver awards; eating at a college cafeteria is also a thrill for whatever reason. Between all of these things, it keeps us coming back year after year.
This year, we had another really good experience. The workshops were made up of three parts:
Critique of the art show
Expressive drawing workshop
Photography tips and editing tricks
Kids are split up into groups and rotate around to each of the three workshops. We had a good chance to talk in-depth about a lot of the works that won awards. Here’s a few of them:
I really like how the critique is done–the professor guides without overwhelming, letting the kids do most of the talking and thinking.
We’ve had times before where the kids pick out which works they would like to discuss, but the juror spends the entire hour doing all the talking. There may not be the same type of intellectual discourse, but I’d rather my kids be active and thinking rather than passive and (maybe) listening.
The drawing workshop was also good, mostly because the professor continued to push kids outside of their comfort zone. They got out the mirrors, and did self-portraits with an odd expression.
The drawing techniques and materials they selected were something different from what they are used to (i.e., if you usually use graphite, go with color, or if you always sit, try drawing when standing up). It was a good change, and we got some fun results.
Lastly, we went outside for a quick photo shoot, then spent some time in the lab learning some simple tricks for editing in Photoshop and making your work look the best it can when presenting, submitting for contests, etc. It should be a huge help as we put together AP portfolios in a few weeks.
After that, we loaded up our plates in the cafeteria, ate way too much slightly above average food, and went back for the awards ceremony. Our winners received $50 for their gold awards, and $25 for the silver awards. Our friends from the other high school in town took the best in show award, which was very deserved, and picking up our own awards was a good way to end the day. Very cool trip overall.