Written by Alice G. Foreman, NW Art Committee Member:
Some might wonder at the title of this blog entry. For those currently serving on the Junior League of Seattle’s NW Art Committee, or JLS members who have served on the Committee and been privileged to go into one of the Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the meaning will be very clear. It won’t even be an “aha” moment; they will just smile and agree.
I want to provide a little explanation for those readers who have not enjoyed the experience of in-room teaching, being a docent, or being a member of the NW Art Committee (something I hope all Seattle Leaguer’s do at some point during their JLS career), but enough Committee endorsement, just read on and you will understand.
Before you can teach you must be taught. You must learn about art and our artists. Being a member of the NW Art committee, you will learn under the watchful eyes of the Committee Chair, Vice Chairs and Committee Advisors. The keys and overarching links in the learning process of the NW Art Committee are two-fold:
- Halinka Wodzicki, JLS’s art educator and the Museum Education Manager of the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery. The Henry is a fine repository of Northwest Art, a jewel of a show place for fine art as well as place to educate the public about art.
- Committee continuity and knowledge sharing.
First of all, let us start with Halinka, a teaching star. She is knowledgeable and approachable. She is the person who will give you the tools, knowledge and understanding of art you will need to be a successful docent yourself. Her lesson plans and insight tell you exactly how to use these tools and share them with students and teachers alike. So, if you choose to go into the schools to teach/docent, you will be taught.
Secondly, NW Art committee continuity and the sharing of knowledge and experiences is ever-present and an immeasurable factor in the success of bringing art into the schools.
When you get into the classroom, there are moments and experiences where your students teach you. They find a color you had not seen in an art piece. They see and share information about the placement of lines and shapes. You will find their excitement contagious. They will let you know what they see, and they are eager to try on your explanations and compare their thinking with yours.
The ultimate success is the knowledge that you have shared information that will help expand students’ horizons in all areas of their learning. It was always a great thrill for my docent partner, Minda Brusse, and I to receive a fine report card as well as appreciation from our school’s principal for the lessons we shared.
What did the students I taught and the experience of being a docent teach me? That a student’s eyes and minds are open to the creative wonder of art and its importance in our world, and that the experience of letting them interact with art and seeing their imaginations at work is a joy.