Sunday, April 13, 2014


Since January I have been working with two amazing ladies, Angela Olson and Canae Weiss, teaching art classes at a public arts magnet elementary school in St. Paul. The three of us come from different artistic backgrounds and we have varying hearing abilities/disabilities. Together we are teaching both mainstream and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students that art is a means of communication that transcends barriers presented by hearing abilities/inabilities. 

This is a project that I have been dreaming about for years. And now, thanks to the Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Learning Grant, it is real and in full swing. 

I have just started a blog which will document our work. If you'd like you can see it here:

Below is an example of one of our lesson plans.

Emotions and Art
I recently led a lesson plan about emotions and art. Each class started with a discussion about emotions - what are the different emotions we feel? How do these emotions show up in artwork? I showed examples of how different artists throughout history have shown emotions through their artwork - either through their subject matter, symbolism, color, or the body language of the figures in their artwork. 

Then students were asked to make traces of their bodies - I asked them to use their body shapes to convey an emotion that they wanted to express. And then I gave them plenty of time to color in their body shapes. Students were asked to put different things inside their body shapes - things that make them happy, or colors that make them feel a certain emotion. 

It was pretty cool to see what these young people came up with!

I love how expressive this face is. It reminds me so much of the student, who is always smiling and curious.

I asked this guy why he put a blue circle in the middle of his body. His reply? "We talked about how the color blue could represent the feeling/emotion 'calm'. And so I made a blue heart because my heart is calm."

Student: "I am trying to think of, if I could reach into my body and pull out my emotions, what would I see?"

Interviewer: "And what do you think?"

Student: "Um, a lot of bright colors. A lot of different shapes...are coming up."

Interviewer: "Pretty cool!"

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