New Hope-Solebury High School in New Hope, Pennsylvania, is a small school with a population of 450 student. Betsy is the only art teacher, but because the art program is growing, the Middle School Art teacher began to teach two entry level Art 1 classes this year. All students begin art by taking Art 1, a full year prerequisite survey course exploring the many facets of techniques, materials and mediums. Students then may register for AP Prep 1, AP Prep 2 (where the focus is based upon developing a portfolio ready breadth section). In senior year, students who have taken Art 1 and at least one year of AP Prep may register for the AP Portfolio (they may also elect to take drawing, 2d/3d design). In addition, Betsy teaches Ceramics 1 & 2, and Yearbook Design. All courses, with the exception of Ceramics, are full year courses, which meet 5 days a week for 42 minutes. The AP Prep & AP Portfolio classes are taught in the same period.
Betsy is both an instructor and a facilitator. She arranges the environment to support student choice of materials and subject matter, although she drives students towards instructor driven context in AP Prep 1 & 2. Throughout all levels of instruction, she encourages students to find their individual voice through experimentation, research and interpretation. By senior year, students who have had this background are prepared to launch independently into the development of a body of work exploring a central idea. (See one student's concentration)
She received her BA in studio art at the University of Maryland in the mid-70's, and her M.A.T. at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in the late 90's. She has been teaching for 8 years.
Betsy introduced the lesson by giving a PowerPoint presentation on the work of Picasso and the giant puppets of Peter Schumann's Bread & Puppet Theater. Art 1 students worked in pairs to blend these two resources into making giant "Picasso" masks, each a minimum of 3 feet tall or wide. Students researched the works of Picasso, picked one and created a mask inspired by the selected artwork using cardboard, tape, hot glue, newspaper, papier maché and paint. Once the mask was constructed, students went back to research and then a second work by Picasso as a reference to guide them in designing a color palette.