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Artist of the Month bulletin boards are a fun way to decorate your room and integrate art history all at once. Oftentimes, showcased artists include classics such as Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir. But why not re-imagine an Artist of the Month board to feature underrepresented artists instead? In doing so, you challenge stereotypes and introduce students to artists who are actively creating artwork. The artists selected for display can also reflect what the students are learning in a particular unit.
This does not need to be “more work.” With careful consideration, the process can be impactful without creating an excessive burden on you. You can also get your students to do the work as part of an art club, a warm-up activity, or for service hours. Students will research, create the components, and construct the final display.
It is important to consider where to establish the Artist of the Month board. The art room is a natural choice, as you can easily refer to it during lessons or impromptu discussions. However, consider a location in the hallway outside of the art room. Displaying the contemporary women artists and their work in view of anyone walking by will establish what you care about to the entire school. Intentionally showing that your classroom is a safe space for all will speak volumes to your students. It is also a way to bring color and inspiration to halls that are often bland and blank.
Fellow teachers and staff can also learn from your board. At my school, the Artist of the Month board is in the hallway outside my room. Teachers often stop and ask questions or share a connection to the work on the board. These interactions would be far less frequent if the displays were behind closed doors.
There are many things that can be included in an informational display about an artist.
Here are some suggestions:
You could try illustrating a portrait of each artist and then make a second copy to put on display in the classroom.
If you don’t have time to craft your own short biography, we have you covered! Our FLEX collections include hundreds of artist biographies. Below is a complimentary downloadable bio to get you started with your contemporary women Artist of the Month board.Download Now!
Deciding to maintain the Artist of the Month board does take commitment. If the notion of changing out the artist every month seems overwhelming, then don’t. Instead, call it a “Featured Artist.” This creates flexibility in how often you change the display. Remember, the featured artists do not need to connect to any work happening in the art room. The board can also highlight artists you want students to know about that you don’t have the time to cover in a unit during class. You can also select artists based on Commemorative Observances or Heritage Months to tie into broader conversations happening throughout the school building.
Excited, but don’t know where to start? Here are ten artists to get your display off the ground in the first year.
An Artist of the Month board does not need to be a ton of extra work. With the outline of ten contemporary women artists above, a big portion of the planning is already done. Focusing on a particular group or genre of up-and-coming artists introduces students and staff to possibilities outside of the traditional artistic canon. Get ready for conversations to spark and inspirations to soar if you give this display a try this year.
Looking for other themes or genres to include in your Artist of the Month board? Check out these compilations:
What contemporary women artists would you add to this list?
What Commemorative Observances or Heritage Months does your school or community recognize? What artists can you introduce to your students that align with these observances?
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.