For most people, once they graduate from high school, they take on new endeavors. Whether it is higher education, joining the workforce or joining the military, they move on and high school becomes a distant memory. Although it has become easier than ever to keep in touch with friends from long ago, you never really return to your old stomping grounds… unless you decide to become an educator.
Through the museum’s Artist In-school Partnerships, I have been asked to go back to my Alma Mater, Perry High School, and work with a couple of the Visual Arts classes. For the past couple of weeks, I have been visiting Perry along with Leah, our School Programs Coordinator here at the Warhol. We are working on a unit that introduces the students to the life and work of Andy Warhol while comparing him to more contemporary artists like Shepard Fairey and Ludovica Gioscia. Essentially the students will be designing their own silkscreens and print on wallpaper that will be used to create an installation in the school.
Going back to Perry was like entering some sort of parallel universe. The classes I'm visiting start well before I normally start work at the Warhol and it makes me wonder how I ever got up that early for school. Granted that I was rarely on time for first period, it is still super early in my opinion. Not to my surprise, Perry essentially looked the same and yes, it even smelled the same. Some of the administration and faculty recognized me and gave me a warm welcoming (although I have a feeling that they are actually thinking I am my younger sister that was way more involved in school than I was) while others mistaken me as a student roaming the halls instead of being in class . There were some familiar faces from my graduating class that have also taken the educator route in life. They too have been thrown back into this parallel universe.
I give my high school teachers (and any teacher really) alot of credit for what they do day in and day out. High school students are a tough crowd and they take a while to warm up to you. I always wonder "is this what I was like when I was younger?!?". Here I am, interrupting their daily routine with a PowerPoint about some man that they've never heard of, that has a museum that they had no idea existed in their city and top it off by asking them to do an art project. I can see how it can get frustrating for them, but like any teacher, I hope that they will eventually understand why I'm putting such an effort into getting my point across.
All in all, I'm pretty excited to share my knowledge and excitement for the wonderful world of art and Andy Warhol. Here are some examples of the small projects we have done so far:
Students created colorful collages underneath acetate prints of popular celebritities. We discussed Warhol's use of bright colors that "Pop Art" was known for as well as his fascination with the rich and famous. We asked students: "If Warhol were alive today, what celebrities do you think he would make a portrait of?"
Students were given magnet boards and a collection of different images. They were then asked to create different examples of composition.