National Art Education Association News – Rocky Mountain High: Szekely Visits With Colorado Art Teachers

Picture the scene: Slow-moving black cattle cross the road; a proud elk poses for pictures at the bend; and an enormous red rock formation welcomes visitors to Eagle Rock School, Rocky Mountain State Park, Colorado.

Eagle Rock School is the last port of call for troubled teens from all over the United States. Students participate in life-changing experiences, which include fellowship, the arts, and a close involvement with the environment. Once a year this unique campus also becomes the site for professional development of Colorado_s art teachers.

Dr. George Szekely, art educator from the University of Kentucky, known for his performance-style presentations and elaborate arrivals with trunks and suitcases, traveled light for this occasion. Before the workshop, Szekely wrote to participants, asking them to gather their inspiring objects and materials and to take notes on art ideas they held on reserve during the school year. Reversing the trend that the presenter, or art teacher, plans and prepares for everyone, teachers as artists were asked to participate in planning their work. The workshop began with a lively show-and-tell _ a wrapping of local soil samples, an antique store window, an old family album of a 1946 vacation in the Rockies. Each item the teachers shared was complete with sketches exploring the use of the item.

According to Szekely, summers are important periods of artistic growth for students and art teachers. Both groups need to plan for summer art, addressing a summer_s open time frame and the urgency of personal inspirations. The Colorado session rededicated art teachers to making art for the rest of the summer and the school year. Eagle Rock Artists continue the exchange of magnificent and art notes on the web. To view their art, contact gszek01@uky.edu.

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