- Don’t wait until the last minute. Preparing an Art Exhibition takes quite a bit of planning and organisation.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. Encourage other teachers, parents and older students to lend a hand.
Selecting the works of art to be displayed
- Make sure that an artwork from every child is displayed.
- One idea is to have your pupils choose their favourite artwork from their portfolio.
- As the Art teacher, you may decide to choose an artwork for each pupil yourself. Although a bit more time consuming, this process ensures a well-rounded collection of artworks to display.
- You can ask your pupils to create a new artwork for the show. In this case, help your young artists demonstrate a variety of the skills and techniques they have learned throughout the year in this new work of art.
- Make sure that the selection of artwork is varied. Choose sculptures, mobiles, collage, recycled art as well as drawings and paintings.
Preparing the displays
- Organise a separate display for each classroom (see suggestions below).
- The title of each display can include a common theme of the artwork (eg The City at Night), a skill or technique that was used (lines, shapes, colours, printmaking, texture rubbings, etc), the genre (portraits, landscapes, sculpture) or the name and information of the artist and original artwork that inspired the project.
Display from St Joseph’s School, Birkenhead
Make sure that each display includes the classroom number and that artworks are clearly labelled with each pupil’s name. You may also decide to ask the pupils to create a title for their artwork. See link below to Class label template.
Finding the right place, creating a space
A school Art Exhibition that includes artworks from all of the pupils at all levels of Primary requires a fairly large room. Speak with administrators to reserve a large area such as a multi- purpose room or auditorium. You can also use a section of the gymnasium or dining room if space is limited. Although the walls of a room should definitely be used to display some of the artwork, there are also many creative ways to create extra ‘wall’ space to spread the artworks around and make it look more like a real Art Exhibition.
Harefield Junior School, Uxbridge
Freestanding panels or dividers work well. If none are available at your school, find out about purchasing a number of them. They can be extremely useful not only for displaying art but for backdrops for theatre productions as well as freestanding signs for special events and school announcements.
Taken by Mrs Karen McDonough at Skyview Upper Elementary School
Creating hanging walls with continuous paper is my personal favourite. Ask maintenance to hang eye screws or metal hooks high up on each wall near the ceiling. Tie heavy string tightly across the room (in rows, perpendicular to each other or diagonally). Measure the length of the distance between the string to the floor. Then cut very long pieces of continuous paper twice the length of that distance. Fold the paper in half and glue or tape artwork to both sides of the paper. Loop the continous paper over the string and you have created a paper wall that displays student work on both sides. Repeat several times with a variety of colours. You may choose to mat or frame each artwork individually and punch holes in corners. In this way you can loop two strings, on either side, through several pieces of art and creat a ‘ladder’ to hang from the ceiling. Place several of these art ladders together to divide up the large space. Arrange tables or desks around the room to place sculptures and other free standing artworks.
Make posters with your students to advertise the Art Exhibition. Use big letters and bright colours to grab people’s attention. Involve your students in creating motivating phrases to encourage people to come (eg Everyone is invited, Bring your family and friends, Celebrate our artists). Ask the pupils to hang the posters in hallways, near the office and at the entrance to the school.
Make it personal
You can also have your pupils create personal invitations to the event for their family and friends. Make sure they include the date, location and time. See below the link to an invitation template. Sharing art can be a community building experience for all of the members of your school. A well-organised Art Exhibition can motivate young artists, enlighten parents about the creative process and demonstrate your school’s dedication to the Arts. Get started today!