Monday, December 17, 2012


"It is your ability as a creative person to envision positive change that will make a difference." Patricia Johanson  

Today is Monday, December 17th, a brand new day.  I came into my classroom prepared to be there for my students.  Newtown is next to my hometown in Connecticut and I know people who are grieving and processing still.  As I hold my son tighter, and work with my students, my thoughts are with the families and the community in Newtown and I hope they work together and help each other heal.  As an art teacher, what can I do?  Art is often a tool for inspiration, creativity, fun, and beauty.  Art is often used as healing.  I had a Kindergarten art class today.  Instead of letting myself be stricken with grief, I found myself working hard to be stronger, positive and forging ahead.  It will not be easy for many of us and we will all recover differently.  Those teachers in Newtown were heroes as they thought of their students first and showed their love and compassion no matter what.  I still believe we can all make a difference.  What will you do in your classroom to prepare our students for the future and process their healing?  This post below is part of my healing process. 
Chagall, The Three Candles
President Obama Speech
Vigil for Sandy Hook

"And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.

And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

This is our first task -- caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged. "

Chagall's Peace Window
 Marc Chagall - Peace Window, United Nations, NYC, 1964
Earlier in the year our High School art class kicked off the curriculum studying Russian Art, and Marc Chagall.  We learned about Chagall's difficult life and his purpose as an artist to heal and promote peace.  He also began working with stained glass late in his life and one particular piece our classes studied was his Peace Window.  My classroom has a smartboard/LCD projector so I was able to display the Peace Window onto the board, and turn off the lights in the classroom.  The effect was powerful.  Students were amazed by the serenity and the chills that came about, and discussed their reactions to the artwork.  Students discussed how art can be healing for both the artist and his audience.  Students created their own symbolic imagery of what brings them peace and designed a faux stained glass window.
An example of a lesson plan using Chagall's Peace Window can be found here.

Chuck Baird, You are the Light of the World

Chuck Baird - You are the Light of the World, 2002
Chuck Baird suffered from cancer at the end of his life and it had a profound impact on his later artwork.  He concentrated on the beauty of life and the light within.  K-12 students created a design for our school yearbook incorporating ASL art in honor of Chuck Baird.
More about Chuck Baird's work can be found here.
This means "Support" in American Sign Language by Chuck Baird

Community -
Community is an important part of our school's belief system.  It is a time for us to come together and support one another.  Our Executive Director sent us a school wide e-mail reminding us to be there for our students, support them as needed and know that our school counselors are available to support them.  After school today, we will have a staff meeting so we can support each other as well.  More about our school and its core values can be found here.
"We love Peace," UNArt for Peace Winner, Age 7, China

Art as Healing -
Art has been used as a form of communication and expression for as long as man has been around.  Artists and their artwork can inspire themselves and others to begin the healing process.  Art Therapy is an example of how art can help people recover.  Today some of my students simply became relaxed by working on their art projects.  One student made a card to the "20 Angels" before returning to her art project.

"Art is a wound turned into light" Georges Braque

Thursday, December 6, 2012

De'VIA Pioneers


Over the past year we have lost two beautiful Deaf artists who also were pioneers in the De'VIA movement.  De'VIA is short for Deaf View/Image Art.  This movement was officially recognized at the Deaf Way Festival at Gallaudet University in 1989.

"De'VIA represents Deaf artists and perceptions based on their Deaf experiences.  It uses formal art elements with the intention of expressing innate cultural or physical Deaf experience.  These experiences may include Deaf metaphors, Deaf perspectives, and Deaf insight in relationship with the environment (both the natural world and Deaf cultural environment), spiritual and everyday life."
C. Baird, Art No. 2, (ASL sign for Art) De'VIA Poster, 1999 Tour
 CHUCK BAIRD -  (1947-2012) Chuck Baird shared a special relationship with our school here at The Learning Center for the Deaf.  He was an Artist-in-Residence here in 1995 and completed a mural in our cafeteria that shows the rich history of ASL (American Sign Language).  Our ASL department created a video explaining the history and can be found on youtube.  During an interview Chuck Baird mentioned that his research on ASL during this project had a profound impact on him.  More from this interview can be read here.  I personally met Chuck Baird in 2002 when I was living in the graduate student dorm at Gallaudet University.  I was hosting a dorm event with my roommate who was an RA.  I set up an art exhibition and reception in the lobby and Chuck Baird came to participate as he was living in the dorm as well.  He did a live demonstration of his artwork and that piece was exhibited during the Deaf Way II festival.  Chuck Baird and I became friendly and he invited me to participate on the committe for Deaf Way II.  I immensely enjoyed my experience meeting international Deaf artists, and planning for the Artist Seminar and creating a docent guide.  I am forever grateful to Chuck Baird for this invaluable and inspiring experience.  More about Chuck Baird's art can be found here.
C. Baird, Sunset

Dr. BETTY G. MILLER -(1934? - 2012) I also met Betty Miller at the Deaf Way II festival and I vividly remember her collaborative neon art projects with other artists.  Betty Miller is considered the Mother of De'VIA and led the workshop that created the De'VIA manifesto.  While Chuck Baird's artwork shows the connection of ASL with imagery, Betty's work shows her personal experience as a minority and memories of oppression. Chuck Baird noted that Betty Miller was ahead of her time and called her the first artist to express Deaf experiences in her work.  More about his thoughts on Betty Miller can be found here.  More about Betty's work can be found here, here and here.
B.Miller, TTY Call

Every year our students here at TLC participate in the Marie J. Philip ASL & Art Competition and often their artwork is inspired by Chuck Baird & Betty Miller.  See more information here.  Just last year our students had an art exhibition at Tenacre School in Wellesley titled "Deaf Eyes."  This exhibition was a culmination of our studies of De'VIA and students' self expression of their Deaf Culture identity.  More of TLC student work can be found at and some of their De'VIA work can be found here or here.

TLC Student, My Deaf Eye


Our school is a member of, an online student art museum.  Artsonia manages school art galleries in a safe and educational manner, developing students’ pride and self-esteem and involving parents and relatives in students’ arts education. 

To login and create an account you need to open the artsonia email that was sent out to parents.  If you lost this email or never received it, please email the art teacher to get your account information.

Once you create an account, you will receive occasional newsletters and updates about what is happening in the classroom throughout the year.  You can also start a Fan Club inviting close family members and friends to view your child’s gallery.  Friends and family can leave positive comments about your child’s artwork in their guestbook.

In addition to viewing the gallery, parents may order custom keepsakes with their child’s artwork.  These items will help raise funds for our school art program! 

Order $25 or more and get a FREE MAGNET
Use Promo Code: contact art teacher to get this code!
(offer expires Dec 15, 2012)
You can order necklaces made from your child's artwork!

November Projects

This month was an exciting time for our art program.  We enjoyed the annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the school, and learned about many different Asian art forms especially printmaking!
What were you thankful for this year?

My View of Mt. Fuji, 7th Grade, Styrofoam Print
 November PROJECTS:
Stamping Fun
Japanese - Gyotaku Fish Prints
Hokusai - Views of Mt. Fuji - Styrofoam Prints
Koi Fish Linocuts
Reduction Print Process - Tree of Life
Ceramics - Glaze work
Mural Project Proposal

**artwork will be uploaded onto artsonia by next week!**