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Summer is here, and with it comes the time-honored tradition of summer arts festivals. They usually involve a weekend full of food, entertainment, and most importantly, art. For art teachers, they can serve as a way to recharge, refresh, and get inspired.
One of the best things about arts festivals is the plethora of demonstrations that can be found throughout the weekend. You might be able to see some glass blowing, metal smithing, wheel throwing, sketching, portraiture, or even caricature artists at work. Stop and watch, stop and learn, or stop and just enjoy.
Maybe you want to find out more about an artist’s technique or see how you could incorporate an idea into your classroom. Maybe you need to know something for your own personal art or just because you’re curious. Most of the artists you’ll find love to talk shop and love to talk about their work. Stop by the booth of an artist whose work you’ve been admiring and strike up a conversation.
Odds are, there will be an opportunity for you to create some art yourself after a demonstration or at a designated artmaking booth. It may be simple, but it also may be totally worth it. It’s always enjoyable to make some art, even if it’s outside the realm of what you normally do. Or, in lieu of that opportunity, bring along your sketchbook! There’s never a shortage of visual inspiration, especially when people watching!
Children have the unique ability to view the world with wonderment, innocence, and curiosity. Try to take on that view as you walk through the festival. Enjoy the colors, the sights, and the sounds. Watch and enjoy art being made, displayed, and sold. Put away your jealousy and your inner monologue that says, “I could do that so easily,” and, “Why didn’t I think of that?” and just enjoy the art for what it is.
What better way to take the feeling you find at an arts festival and help it inspire you all year round? Maybe it’s the sculpture that goes in your yard, maybe it’s a small painting for your kitchen, or a huge wall hanging that finds a home above your couch. Art is what inspires us. Adding more in your life is never a bad thing.
As you make your way through the summer and attend an arts festival or two, keep some of these tips in mind to inspire both your artmaking and your teaching.
What are your favorite parts of the summer arts festival scene?
What are your other favorite summertime inspirations?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.