Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Critical-Making in the Studio

In the spring, several of us here at RJR got together to research and write a grant application to Crayola and the NAESP (the National Association of Elementary School Principals). Our school was a recipient of this grant in 2010. Not only did we receive art supplies from Crayola, which we used enthusiastically, we also received $2,500 to put toward materials for the Studio which connected the learning with several disciplines, especially Science. In addition to other supplies, we invested in LCD Microscopes (the kind they use at our high school) which allowed us to make observational and technical drawings which we applied to our art-making. Our project was shared in the supplement to Principal magazine, published by the NAESP in Sept./Oct. 2011 and distributed nation-wide. I am sharing this as I came across this wonderful quote from John Maeda, current president of the Rhode Island School of Design, which celebrates the cross-disciplinary thinking and "critical thinking-critical making" that occurs in an art classroom:

Creativity and ingenuity have always been central to the American story of progress. After two decades as a student and faculty member at MIT, my experience as the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has reawakened me to the world of physical creation. RISD is the ultimate culture of makers. There is no greater integrity, no greater goal achieved, than an idea articulately expressed through something made with your hands. We call this constant dialogue between eye, mind, and hand "critical thinking -- critical making." It's an education in getting your hands dirty, in understanding why you made what you made, and owning the impact of that work in the world. It's what artists and designers do.

And that is what we do as thinkers and makers, too!
I am looking forward to hearing from Crayola and the NAESP to cement our plans for this awesome school year ahead. Regardless of the outcome of the grant process, we are "getting our hands dirty" and celebrating the multiple possibilities that occur through art!

To read more of the article: STEM to STEAM: Art in K12 Education

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