Action! Finally, after 3.5 months of work, collaborating, weaving, welding, painting, and blogging, the Whale is ready! The sound has been installed and the lighting is set. Coming to the end of the process of making a piece of artwork, no matter how big or small, is always a bag of mixed emotions. We have hopes about how the audience will respond. We have some sense of sadness because the “work” is over and it’s time to let the public have their moment. We feel pride in what we’ve accomplished and then, upon realizing how high we’ve just set the bar for ourselves, we feel pressure to produce something better next time. It’s all part of the process; part of creating something that pushes boundaries and challenges others to think deeper about themselves and the world around them.
For me, this is a time of reflection as the Artist/Educator who guided these students, and my coworkers, through such an involved process. Did I do a good job? Did I stay true to my vision? Did the students really learn something they can take with them into the future? I predict, that by tomorrow after the big reveal, I will feel comfortable in saying “yes” to all of those questions. I’m very proud of my amazing students who committed themselves from the beginning of this crazy adventure. They trusted me, maybe because they knew I was along for the ride, too.
While they had their goals to accomplish, I had my own. We hear so much about interdisciplinary learning and merging the Liberal Arts with the STEM area of academia, but we rarely see evidence of the outcome for those theories. This project is that and more. It proves that our students not only can, but want to take ownership of their education. It proves that Art can be about more than itself. And, it proves that learning goes beyond what the traditional classroom provides or the standard path to any career field is presumed to need. I say presumed because the 21st century has brought along its friend – technology. Technology decided to change the world while we slept. Now, it is necessary to rethink how we teach, how we learn and how we interact. This exhibit has provided fertile ground for my students to practice all of those things and it has been, in my opinion, wildly successful, (not to mention fun!).
Thank you to all the people who donated bags. Thank you to a very trusting Administrative force at OC. Thank you to all the volunteers and extra credit earners. Thank you to my colleagues who jumped in because I asked. But especially, thank you Theresa, Justine, Max, Jenn and Charlie for turning your education in my dream come true. Let’s do it again!! ;)