I woke up today and realized that the end of the school year has passed. It’s June, the official beginning of my Summer break as an art teacher. Usually, the end of the year is full of hugs, tears, and trying desperately to get my students to take home their things. I typically am consumed with cleaning messes, trying to decide if I should throw away unclaimed and unnamed art, and organizing my classroom for the next year. Today I woke up and was shocked by the idea that my students wouldn’t be back, my seniors are graduating next weekend and we have ended their high school experience uneventfully.
Teaching online was challenging. Not because it was more work, it was actually strangely relaxed and hands-off for the most part. What was challenging was knowing my kids (I’m speaking about my students here, as I always am when I refer to my kids) were missing prom, their friends, and yes, even some of their teachers. I did my best to make them feel loved, feel like they have a purpose, and make them feel connected. Even still, I saw a lot of sadness in their work.
I want to commemorate our missed months. We did not release a May event calendar because, well there were no physical events. I want to take time in this post to congratulate our friends who graduated from Graduate School, Undergraduate programs, and high school. If I miss anyone, please send me an email and I’ll do my best to share their stories.
If you are not an artist, you may not understand the significance of missing an exhibition. These students have worked for years towards theses final exhibitions. They have spent countless hours honing their craft, problem-solving, and developing their work to their highest level of skill. Missing a physical exhibition is a true loss of their moment to shine and a focused moment to verbalize their ideas which are usually left to the viewer’s interpretation of a didactic on a wall or their imagination.
Our friends at the University of Texas at Tyler graduated with their final MFA thesis exhibitions but were unable to have physical shows. Each one of these artists is incredibly talented and are some of the most skilled visual storytellers I’ve seen. UT Tyler has created an online exhibition available, links below. Please take the time to read their exhibition thesis statements to get a sense of their intentions with their work.
Pan Dulce in the Sauce
View the exhibition here: https://artuttyler.com/section/490229_MFA_Exhibition_John_Miranda.html
View the exhibition here: https://artuttyler.com/section/490232_MFA_Exhibition_Laminda_Miller.html
ALL IT CAN BE IS WHAT IT WAS NAMED
View the exhibition here: https://artuttyler.com/section/490231_MFA_Exhibition_Nora_Schreiber.html
See videos of the installations here: https://www.youtube.com/user/msnoraschreiber/featured
Attach | Manipulate | Respond
View the exhibition here: https://artuttyler.com/section/490230_MFA_Exhibition_Jessica_Sanders.html
UT Tyler also had a group of excellent BFA students graduate this semester as well, were also unable to exhibit physically.
Artists exhibited: Lidia Alvidrez, Willow Lanchester, Katherine Emmel, Maggie Pierce, Grace Richardson, Payton Poole, Justin Witherspoon, Teresa Young
View full exhibition: https://artuttyler.com/section/490228_BFA_Exhibition.html
Some incredible artists from our high schools have graduated as well. Some of our own (Mrs. Taylor and I's) from Chapel Hill High School are featured below.
*If you are an art teacher, high school or otherwise, and you feel like your graduating students need a shout out, please feel free to share your students' work with me via email and I will update this post.
Now that Texas is lessening restrictions on gatherings and public spaces, a few places are now open with some restrictions.
Tyler Museum of Art
Now open with free admission until further notice.
Currently, they are featuring
16th Annual High School Art Exhibition until June 7th
Lone Star Impressions II, Prints by Flatbed Press until July 5th
Please be sure to follow health protocol, available here: https://tylermuseum.org/visit/health-protocols/
Longview Museum of Fine Arts
East Texas Artists until June 27th
Sign up for their summer classes: https://www.lmfa.org/artworks/summer-classes/
Longview String Quartet
Longview Arboretum and Nature center “The Roots Concert Series” is doing socially distanced outdoor concerts for your healthful enjoyment.
We are still planning on hosting our summer workshop series, but we have decided to follow suit and have them online. This year, the workshops will be FREE to the public, however, will have limited seating in the online class. If you are interested in teaching a workshop, the link is below. And yes, it is a paid gig! Please let us pay you to teach our community something awesome. Sign up here and stay tuned to sign up: https://forms.gle/6HWMqXH3Z4TRqWcZ7
We are continuing our Podcast series with the help of Toginet Radio, but while we record new episodes, please check out the podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/show/7vjR0SPaBvUdjKThA0XjBt?si=OVjztOf1Qr28kraNgMCmzw
How can you give back?
Help us bridge tough times by supporting your local creatives, the actual creatives that make up our community. There has never been a better time to have a new logo designed, order a print, or even have a poet draft you a sonnet. Many of us work either in creative fields or in industries affected by this pandemic (think about how many servers also act, write, or paint). We love you and now is the time to show you love us. I've compiled a list of locals (and growing) who are in our network. Feel free to contact them. Share your love and if you're fortunate enough to be employed through this, give back to those who make our area beautiful.
Support local artists:
Buy print or commission an original work of art. Artists need your help right now more than ever.
Local creative businesses to support:
This is a running list, I've missed so many amazing people. If you have someone you'd like me to add to these lists, please send me an email. Those featured here are members of our etx creatives online community. If you haven't joined our community yet, you can find it here.