Art Exams and Study Sheet

ART AWARDS - ART SHOWS: Artists Awards From Stephanie Corder

I've been saving all of our "dead" paintbrushes, with the intent of making an "Ode to a Dead Paintbrush" poster to hang over the sink next year, with instructions for proper paintbrush care... However, I had been agonizing over how to present my artist awards at our award ceremony last week, and I saw a site where people were presented with "Palette Awards" - Eureka! I knew what I was going to do! I needed two awards per grade, one for best in class, and another for artistic merit, whether it was for improvement, ability etc. So, for the "Best of" awards, I spray painted the brushes silver. For the rest, I spray painted a blue-violet color (our school colors happen to be silver and blue) I also added two "Artist of the Year" awards (in gold of course). For the writing, I used paint pens, and then embellished with those new gel glaze pens. I was very happy with the results, and I still have a few dead brushes with which to make my sign!



Creative Art Awards - from Jeannie Sandoval

I used these last year and it was a winner with the kids and my faculty. "You are so imaginative" I was told... Jeannie in Georgia.

  • The David Hockney Award for best in drawing

  • The Vincent Van Gogh award for the best in use of color to express emotions

  • The Ansel Adams Photography award for best in pinhole photography

  • The Monet award for the best use of color

  • The Kandinsky award for best in imaginative work

  • The Georgia O'Keeffe award for the best in choice of subject matter

  • The Louise Nevelson award for the Best in sculpture

  • The Jacob Lawrence award for best in printmaking

  • Leonardo da Vinci award for the most inventive

  • The Roy Lichenstein award for most graphic

  • Jackson Pollock award for the most active in the classroom (messiest)

  • Hokusai award for best nature and water depiction

  • Maria Montoya Martinez for best clay vessel

Select artists you have covered throughout the year(s) and come up with your own meaningful awards. I can think of several awards that could go with Mondrian... Picasso... Michelangelo... Dali... You can make some very creative award ribbons (with pins) to go with these awards. The fine art pins can be attached to blue ribbons. Use images from Art Image Publications Catalog (and other sources) for the pins (note permission has been granted for you to use the catalog images for fine art pins). Maybe have your Art Club work on the pins?

For a similar idea - See Marvin Bartel's SmartAwards

Award Pins from Su Sheridan

You can get those larger clear flat glass globules (used in aquariums etc) - collage fine art image on the BACK side - paint over back of image and blend in around the edges with acrylic..... glue on pin back - and attach to your blue ribbon (or ribbon with your school colors). She said the art images look really neat under the rounded glass.

Art Show - Ribbons with Ceramic Special Award "Medals"

We had certificates for everyone the first two years - and ribbons for the award winners - with big rosette ribbons for the "Choice" Awards. Then we changed so that ALL students got a ribbon (we had a different color for each level - white for elementary - a tan or peach for middle school and an orange for high school). The students REALLY liked this. Each one of us gave our own signed certificates/notices, too.


This is what we have done for art show awards for many years. We (now the high school students again) make clay awards. We have merit awards (that area art teachers select -- 30 merits per teacher), Principal's Choice, Superintendent's Choice, and School Board Recognition (for each building). Choice awards are larger "medals."

The first two years we used a student created linoleum stamp (one "Merit" with paw print, one "Great" with Bull dog head-that we wrote the special awards on the back). We have since had stamps made for the awards (the special awards have bulldog heads --merits still have the paw print). We had metal stamps made so they would last longer. The awards do not cost the school any additional money now (after the cost of the stamps several years ago). This year our high school students are making all of them (they made them the first two years when I was at the high school -- after that it was "my job" to make all of them - After all... the medals were my idea in the first place - my design).

We stamp the clay slabs --- cut out the circles --- bisque fire them-- spray paint them black-- then rub antique gold Rub 'n Buff on them ( I purchase the rub 'n buff, spray paint and ribbon to tie them onto the art work). Students really do treasure them.

To make it easy - the merit awards were/are the size of mushroom/small tomato sauce cans. The Choice awards were/are the size of tuna fish cans. It really didn't take that long to make them. I made over 150 merit awards each year - and around 25 of the Choice awards. Occasionally an award would get broken in taking down the show and transporting work - but not too many. There were always plenty of replacements on hand.

Note: Set up for the show was Friday (we got release time starting around 1:00 to set up. Area teachers judged the show - administrators and school board made their selections Friday (show was all day Saturday - with take down Saturday evening).

Art Show Tips

From Jenna Freck - Our art show is held in June every year in conjunction with an ice cream social. A separate group of parent volunteers put together the ice cream/toppings/etc (and make sure they don't bring it in to the multipurpose room where the art is being shown) and we have instant refreshment for all who attend. We use cardboard refrigerator boxes cut up for display walls--they work amazingly well.


From Leah - Having an art show each year is hard work, usually done outside school hours. (Both attending the show and preparing for it). I feel it is worth it because many times people (not even your colleagues and supervisors) don't know what you do all year with your students. Art shows are good for public relations and it is also an ego boost to hear all the positive remarks. It all works out, but I wouldn't mind an easier way to save and select the work. One idea I was thinking about was to have students save most work in their folders, then once a month, take all but their two best (they help select) home. That way it would be easy to check who has what. I just have to convince students that it is worth keeping their best for the show. They usually want to take what they like home right away.


Every year I have an art show in March. Right now, I'm the only teacher and I have around 600 students. In years past, I've had up to 900. My show consists of two pieces of work from each student displayed by classrooms and on portable boards on the first floor of our school. Parents are invited in for two hours on two nights (usually about 300 families attend). For refreshments, I sent a note home with all students asking for a dozen cookies from anyone who was able to donate. PTA pays for the punch, napkins, cups, etc. We usually get enough for two nights, and when they're gone, that's the way it goes. PTA parents put the show up (I have everything organized and ready to go), serve the refreshments, take the show down, and pass the work back.


Timeline: Mon., show goes up, Tues., cookies collected, first night of show, Wed., second night of show, Thurs., show comes down, work gets passed back, and portable boards go back to district storage. The hardest part is saving the work. I have a big box for each grade in my storage room. I save work throughout the year (which is also used for regular displays) and I go through it periodically to pass back what I don't want, and trade older work with more recent work. I try to keep the best of what each student does, but it really boils down to getting samples of all we've done and making sure everyone has two pieces (or at least one if the student is new). I usually succeed. Each student gets a "certificate of achievement" given right before the show that lists what is in the show so that students remember what they have on display. I letter these during the summer and fill out the rest right before the show.

From Susan Holland - I just got my show up last night. I have about 200 students. I keep artwork sorted by class, and I got a volunteer to help sort each class's art into individual piles for each students. I passed back the art to kids during their regular class time and had them choose which piece they wanted for the show, then write about that piece. What they write becomes the tag for their art. Most of my classes chose a piece right before winter break, so at this time, they considered that piece again and the other work they did since then, so the piles weren't unmanageable.

I leave the choosing up to the kids. One of their fine arts requirements is evaluation and it states that they are to define reasons for preferences about their art. They don't always choose their best work, and many don't choose well, but I've only ever vetoed a few choices. They write about why they chose the art and what it is and how they made it.

I don't know how to get a show together without spending extra hours doing it. An insane amount of extra hours.


From Susan - I, too, was determined to have one piece of art work up for each child (485 of them). I was coming up short, so, the week before (during testing week), I had each class do 4 earth day/spring murals on long pieces of butcher paper. They were absolutely delightful and were a bigger hit than the individual pieces. This year with much fear and trepidation, I delegated a lot of the work to parents and teachers... After all these years, I'm finally learning that what doesn't get done, nobody notices anyway.


From Judy - Save back a project or two from each child. Before the art show, have the students select the work they would like to have exhibited. If you notice that you have nothing saved for a child, do a no fail project before the show and save all of the work. Pull out the project for the child who has nothing held back. Name designs are good for this. You could do name designs at the beginning of the year and save all of them just in case.


From Su Sheridan - For the last few years, I have matched my art shows with concerts in both band and choir. There is a packed house for these events. This year, our music director and I placed our themes together and one of my classes presented a power-point presentation while the choir was singing. It was moving watching the huge projected images as the 6th, 7th and 8th grade chorus sang. Many parents commented in positive ways, so we plan to do this again in our Freedom Concert. I have a few 8th graders sketching, painting and sculpting before the concerts and call this our example of "art live." Our local cable station covers these events. I walk through the art show before the concert describing the art by grade level, media, concepts, etc... it works.


From Cindy Erickson - When I did a high school show I created a list of dozens and dozens of responsibilities for the art show.



  • hand calligraphy invitations for the Board and administrators

  • design the clay exhibit area (type of fabric, what to use to create height etc)

  • do a layout of entire floor and wall area and decide what goes where

  • make directional signs

  • decorate refreshment table

  • be in charge of cookies for refreshment table

  • make punch

  • work refreshment table

  • stand at the door and welcome visitors

  • act as a docent and tour visitors through

  • write up a review for the newspaper

  • act as a security person to prevent small children from touching

  • etc., etc., etc.

As you can see the jobs vary from the simple to the complex and I try to include all kinds of "talents". By the time I am finished EVERY SINGLE student has some responsibility for the show. They also hang and display all the work themselves. I am simply the "resource person" if they have a problem.


I also have advanced students do an individual table with their own work. They must design it, make all needed attributes including signage.


This approach has worked for me as the students do develop pride and ownership. I actually had kids coming to me and apologizing because they had to be out of town on the day of the show. It also increases enrollment as the kids not involved see us all working together on the day of the show and want to "sign up".


From Patty Knott - The best we can do is make sure our art students have a stake in their art making, that they feel a choice and an ownership in the expression. If they have that then they will come to defend the questions. I ask that my students act as "docents" at the show. They educate the viewers better than I can and their pride is very evident. I tell them always that the art show is about them - they design, execute and put it up and it's their pride and, in fact, my kids told me last year they didn't want ribbons anymore. It's not a competition, it's an exhibition.


Last year I took an idea from someone's post... But it was a great idea and I want to share. At my art show I had a table with a sign -- MAKE A COMMENT TO THE ARTIST "Take a moment to make a comment to an artist. Was there something that you really liked? -- tell the artist."

I provided lots of note cards and a box to put the comments in. The observations were fabulous.... strangers responding to strangers... After the show I published the comments and gave each student the cards submitted.


Yesterday I was going through my computer files looking for a form for this years show. A student was sitting with me, when I came across this from last year. (How could I forget how great this was?) I asked her if I should do this again. "YES YES!" She told me that she had all her comment cards from last year in her sketchbook and then went off to make a box so we could do it again this year. These affirmations and acknowledgments from strangers were very important for the kids.

Try this there is noting more encouraging than recognition from a stranger. I'm remembering when I was in a high school musical. Two strangers came back stage to tell me how terrific I performed.


From Sandy Jahnle - Students, parents, siblings, grandparents and teachers came to our new cafeteria yesterday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 to view and purchase student art, professional artists demos, my art and refreshments. We had an area for art club work, donated art for sale (note cards, decorative artists' works), baskets of art supplies to be raffled off, and silent auction items. The turnout was wonderful and many people said it was the biggest group for a non-sporting event they ever had! We ended up making $3000 and my principal promised it was all to go to the art department for supplies and equipment!! This is just my 3rd year teaching art at this level, and I've gone from art on a cart, to a new classroom, to this successful show.


From Kathy Douglas - Shows are great fun--the more the kids can do to create it the more likely they are to bring their parents to see it. Artists plan their shows! Elliot Eisner at NAEA stressed that all of our shows need to be "contextual" IE., annotated by both teacher and students (artist statements) for the "what's the point" piece. so do that. Parent volunteer interviews with students is a real plus, as the kids can probably speak better than they can write at this point (elementary). [on judging work] I am curious as to why you think you need to judge the work? That really opens the can of worms: What are the criteria? How many prizes? Who to judge? What will this teach your students besides that most are not as good as one? I realize that competition is part of the adult art world, but as you have so often pointed out these children are just beginning to actually make art. You need to consider very carefully where they are as artists, what your role is (TEACHER) and what the show will teach them. Everything that happens in school is a lesson whether we intend it or not. Our students receive a ribbon and/or certificate as a participant in the town arts council show and they are very pleased. The website has a lengthy article with to-do lists for creating a contextual art exhibit when you have large populations and not much time. Check it out: it is under the Assessment Practice. For my students the art show is a very cool final exam: showing the community what we learned.


Art Show Fundraiser Idea from Nicole Brisco   A couple of years ago I tried this and it works great for all involved. At our art show we give a variety of awards by category, multiple purchase awards sponsored by clubs on campus (they buy for 100.00 from the student, give a framed certificate, and frame... we currently have about 50 framed works around the school now... our administration building started collecting too) The one I started was a Peoples' Choice Award. Basically all I do is make a half sheet ticket on card stock with a space for student name and artwork title. I ask each student to sell 10 at $1 each. They do it for extra credit or you could make it a grade if it is OK with your school. Right now about 75% of my students participate in doing it and usually ask for all 10. I take the money up and it is up to the students/parents/or who ever buys them to return the tickets. I count them up and present an award at the art show reception. This year the kids sold about $1000 worth and I was out no money. OK, so it could be a popularity contest (but it has not happened yet), the kids get extra credit... the main thing is that I have about an extra $1000 to buy great supplies and it takes no time at all to do it.

Exhibit Design and Awards from Marvin Bartel

This page has ideas about exhibit design. /exhibitdesign.html

This page proposes Smart Art Awards /exhibitawards.html

Here are some examples:

  • SmartAward for art that is very creative and innovative

  • SmartAward for art that helps us know the artist better

  • SmartAward for art that really uses the materials expressively

(Note: This is very similar to Jeannie Sandoval's artist awards.)


Adhesive  Removal Tip from Marcia: I found an AWESOME product that will remove labels and adhesives without damaging things. I assume it will also easily remove masking tape from walls. It's called Un-du Adhesive Remover. It's like magic. You drip a couple drops on and the label or sticker will slide right off. I found this product because I am trying to remove about a hundred labels from photographs. It doesn't damage the photo at all and the liquid evaporates a few seconds later! I got it from Hobby Lobby, a local craft store.


Art Show Success from Ann Gray - (Ann is a TAB Choice Art Educator) I had my first all-school Spring Art Festival last Thursday. We had 720 pieces of art work on display. Three mothers and I hung all of the flat art work. Each flat piece of art work was mounted on a colored sheet of construction paper, with their artist statements hanging below. I've been surprised at how interested everyone has been in reading the statements. I covered 5 tables with colored paper to display the cardboard/found materials constructions on. We guesstimated that we had about 350 people visit between 6:00 and 7:30. It was crowded the whole time.

At the entrance, I had a table with two student council greeters. On the table were a hand-out explaining choice-based, a parent survey form, and slips of paper that said "compliment" to the artist, with a lot of sharpened pencils, and a decorated box for them to put the slips in. I had flowers in a vase on the table.

Student council guides met our viewers at the door, and offered to help them find art work. I had purchased plastic top hats for them at a party store so that they would be visible. They loved wearing them. I was so proud of them. They pitched right in, helping me to make sure that the right artist statement went with each construction (which I was arranging on the tables up to the last second), explaining art techniques, and welcoming the guests.

Our director of fine arts came. Our principal was very complimentary of my program to him. She told him that I had really worked hard this year to make this program a success. She told him that she especially liked the writing element that I had tied in to the program, since improving writing is one of our school goals.

I had a power-point slide show with 200 slides scrolling during the exhibit.

Our PTA provided cookies and punch in the cafeteria, which was at the end of the loop of the hallway around the building.

I sent an email to all of the teachers with an attachment that had directions for viewing an in-school exhibit, and suggestions for classroom activities afterward.

The students love reading the artist statements, and practically drag me up and down the halls to show me their favorites, or their brother or sister's art work.

Parent surveys are part of our Oklahoma yearly teacher assessment program. I'm so glad that I put them on the table that night. I got so many positive comments.

Art Show "Chair-ity Auction" Fundraiser

You could get all teachers to scramble in collecting chairs for re-paints. You should also check school storage for old wooden chairs. Each classroom could be responsible for one chair - In upper grades, you could have one chair per table? High school one chair per student? Just depends how you want to set it all up.

Here is one success story (sent to me by Sara Scheid)


I highly recommend setting a minimum bid for each chair... Save the chairs in storage that don't sell then and repaint another year. Don't "give them away for next to nothing" in other words. It might be hard to find the $5.00 garage sale chairs now... folks are getting wiser about the value of furniture.

If you don't think you can round up some nice wooden chairs - think about those one piece molded chairs. There was an article about them in Smithsonian - how they are showing up all over the world. Buy some cheap at end of season. Turn them into a sculpture project, too. Plaster gauze them and paint with latex paints as base coat - They are still very durable. A co-worker did six of them back in 1995 and they are still in use at the local art resource center. Functional Fine Art... They added sculptural elements to the back of many of them -- even added casts of hands at the arms.


You could also have student make individual clay (or sculpture) chairs to be auctions off (Linda Kieling has done this).

"Hands On" Art Show - from Lisa Varuolo

I teach in Northern New Jersey, in three K-4 schools. Though I have an art show (often with a theme) each year, I alternate years with an "interactive art show" meaning that in addition to the viewing the displays, students and their parents visit their classrooms as well as some common areas of the school to create art projects which they then take home. Usually, the schedule flip-flops according to grade level so that everyone can visit the common areas at different times, and families with more than one child can visit all the appropriate rooms.


Before the art show is about to take place, I usually teach the class whatever it is that they are going to do with their parents, so that the classroom teachers don't have the added responsibility of teaching an art lesson to the kids and parents. I get all the supplies ready, and make posters/signs /etc, with appropriate information and prompts.


In the past, group projects in common areas like the library, etc, have consisted of things like Matisse style installations for drawing (complete with goldfish!) and painting "Starry Night" onto blue Kraft-papered lunchroom walls. In individual classrooms, families have made masks, marbled paper, made family collages, fold dyed, painted flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe, etc. It's what I like to think of as a "custodial nightmare" but it is so well received by the school community. It's a lot of work for me, as well, as our current budget crunch prohibits my getting any release time, and the building closes every day at 4:15. I know you can all relate.

This year, one of my school's themes will be Mexico-the other two will be Multicultural. Many of the projects that I have done so far have come from the book "Art from Many Hands".

I have not yet assigned any of these projects, but this is what I have brainstormed so far. These projects would be for children in grades K-4 to lead their families in:

shibori fold dyeing
mask making
Guatemalan Worry dolls
crayon batik
Adinkra cloth stamping (Ghana)
Chinese brush painting
Ojo de dios (God's eyes)


Suggestions from Sky McClain - The parent group (PTA) at my school asks for art room volunteers at their first meeting in September. They send me the list all typed up. I usually get about 12 -15 names. I call them and have them come to my classroom during their child's art period all year long or as often as they can. During that time, they can help me with the lesson but usually they mat pictures. They work in the back of my classroom at a huge matting area, below which I keep 24" x 36" (61 x 91 cm) colored Construction Paper- each color to its own shelf. By "matting" I mean they glue the 2D work onto colored paper. I also have the computer teacher print up two name and class stick-on labels for every child I teach (about 450). My art room aides use these to label each picture. I save the 5 or 6 best works from each project from each class. The children don't know I choose their best work. I tell them that I pick one or more pictures or 3D works from every child so if I don't pick their work in say, October I might pick it in January. I keep track of who's work I pick by putting a dot by their grade in my grade book. This way I know exactly which piece of work I have picked. So the "matting" starts in October after the first projects are finished. (Most of my lessons last from 4 -6 weeks. I meet the classes for one 45 min. period./week) By about April I have one or more pieces all ready to be displayed for each child. I keep everything on shelves in the back of my classroom. I send home all work that is not to be in the art show.


Finally, during the Terra Nova testing week in late April, I have 2 hours free every morning for the whole week. This is when I and my art aides hang the show. Every teacher in the school takes down every single decoration so I have the whole school to hang the show. We hang everything up {on cork strips] and tape all the corners down on the back (love my wide masking tape dispenser which holds two rolls of tape) and one week later I put all the 3D stuff on tables in the front lobby. I do this so it won't be up too long and possibly get damaged.


The teachers take all their classes on a "tour" of the show so the children will be able to find all their work. The teachers let me know if there are any misspellings or missing work. The parents come for two hours on the official night of my show and they stop in the art room to see me. I have 10 extremely talented fifth graders standing at Easels. and painting. This year they are painting sunflowers.


The show remains up for about two or three more weeks so anyone who couldn't come the night of the show will have plenty of time to see it. I do send home the 3D work right after the show. The teachers are very happy to take all their stuff down and not to have to worry about decorating the halls for the rest of the year. My students and I are very proud to see the whole school decorated in art work for a whole month.


In June I have the children take down their own work except in grades one and two. I find that the children are very careful about taking their own work down.