Social Distance Learning

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Catherine Wagner, Naval Postgraduate School, Metallurgical Classroom, Monterey, CA, from the series American Classroom, 1986, Gelatin silver print.

The more I think about and engage with it, the more social distancing feels like an art movement. Although social distancing emphasizes staying home or at a physical distance from others; this practice parallels the concept of social practice art, where works of art are realized via engagement through human interaction and social discourse. It is important to state that social distancing does not mean dropping out from the collective culture. The nature of social distancing is to exhibit empathy so that more vulnerable members of society can minimize their risk of becoming sick.

In order to practice social distancing effectively within art and education settings an individual should seek to make social, emotional and cognitive connections to others via methods and actions that can be applied remotely. Thankfully, because we are social animals, the internet has been transformed by cultural producers to incorporate a variety of actions, events and resources for living, loving and learning artfully while observing and enacting social distancing.

This page is an extension of a recently published blog post called Art Education in an Age of Social Distancing, which includes examples of how art education can be effectively implemented while students and teachers are outside of their classrooms.  In the section below, I will continually update a list of tools, technology, inspirational themes and lesson ideas for making, viewing, presenting and responding to art. So stay tuned and bookmark this document for your reference.Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 3.06.59 PMIn addition to the links below, I have created a sharable Google Document titled Artfully Learning’s Online Art Lesson Plan Outlines for Social Distance Learning, where I have developed several lesson plans and ideas for educators and home-school teachers to utilize with their students in remote settings. Please read the disclaimer/introduction statement in the document if you plan to use any of the lessons.


Creating/Making

  • Art Prof  has specifically been developed for artists and educators to interact remotely on a global scale. Founded by seasoned artists and educators, Art Prof features video tutorials for students to learn technique and skill building, as well as live critique sessions, where students are mentored by a team of experienced art teachers. In fulfilling their mission of “removing barriers that exist due to the cost of higher ed & private classes,” the site is completely free.
  • Do you not have access to your studio or classroom art materials because you are staying home? With many art stores temporarily closed, it is time to get creative with your art supplies. Luckily, the D.I.Y Art Materials Pinterest board has you covered. The board features resources where you can learn about art supplies that can be made at home.
  • In the online series Learning To Love You More (2002-2009), artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher posted playful prompts to engage participants (anyone who visited the website) in an artful game where they had the creative freedom to create unique visual, audio, or written responses. Learning To Love You More was structured enough to make art-centered projects accessible for a wide range of individuals who may or may not have any prior artistic experience. In other words, it was important for no one to feel left out. Each question addressed a specific and simple activity such as feeling the news, re-enacting a scene from a movie that made someone else cry, drawing a constellation from someone’s freckles, giving advice to your past self, or making a poster of shadows. Participants were also prompted to do assignments that built off of other participant’s responses. The artists even gave participants the option to create their own prompts and give a demonstration of the prompt (via text, video, sound, drawing, photography, etc) so that others can follow along and participate. Even though the project has officially ended, these assignments are still a great way to unleash your creativity and connect to others remotely through art.
  • The Arty Teacher is a great website for lesson ideas, assessments, demos and much more. The Art Home Learning page on the site is very useful for supporting remote learning and extending classroom-studio-time to the home.
  • Artist, Allie Olson, is creating daily web-based participatory learning videos for kids ages 2-6. Olson makes learning fun through a unique blend of somatic and social and emotional learning. Her videos are sure to inspire your young ones at home! Check it out by taking a virtual trip to Allieville!
  • Danny Gregory is hosting daily live drawing sessions on YouTube, where he shares a lesson from his archive of lessons and invites participants to work collaboratively on the assignments.
  • Art blogger, artist and educator, Kymberli Grant, is giving free online art lessons via her YouTube channel.
  • Kate Lindquist is an art teacher from Florida who teaches students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She shares K-8 art lessons on her YouTube channel PeaceLoveArt.
  • Artist Ianthe Jackson’s organization Outside In Art, is providing daily Art Workshops online from 4:00 – 5:00 pm (EST).
  • Get your 3 and 4 year olds ready for Art with Ms. Rachel on YouTube.
  • Geared for anyone who is interested in strengthening their depiction skills, Jessica Hopper’s YouTube art lessons  will help you develop your artmaking chops.
  • Drawn Together with Mr. Sarno is a great YouTube channel full of lessons and creative inspiration for students and their families.
  • Plants are essential for our health and happiness. Growing and nurturing plants is also an artistic activity (see: Down to Earth: Extraordinary STEAM Learning, Back to Nature: Learning about ecosystems of the past and building future ecological awareness and Artful Nurturing). The amazing crew of botanists and plant educators at GrowNYC created a guide for making and maintaining tiny greenhouses.
  • The Corona Quilt is a communal art making project that utilizes the traditional aesthetics and socially engaged process of quilt making to address the fears, anxieties and stresses related to COVID-19 and living in isolation. The idea of the project is that these individualized expressions will be viewed within a collectivist lens. The quilted squares from participants are uploaded to social media.
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St. Jerome Writing (after Caravaggio) from the Instagram account Covid Classics (see below for info)

Viewing/Presenting/Responding

  • Since museums across the world have had to temporally shutdown, many have shifted their exhibitions and galleries online. Through Google Arts and Culture, you can use your fingers to roam the halls of arts and cultural institutions and view countless works of art in the comfort and safety of your home. You can also check out famous sites and landmarks with Google’s ‘street view.’
  • Smithsonian’s Open Access allows you to  download, share, and reuse/remix approximately 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from their collections. The list of downloadable content will continue to expand. The Learning Lab is full of lesson ideas and curriculum guides for utilizing the Smithsonian’s expansive collection for inquiry-based learning.
  • Take a trip through time to view some of the first known works of art through virtual reality and Vimeo tours of the Caves of Lascaux.
  • SmartHistory is a tried-and-true, popular platform among educators for viewing and learning about art history. They have an enormous selection of video and textual guides for learning about art, architecture and artifacts throughout the history of the world.
  • The closure of schools has put many students’ shows in limbo. However, as art schools cancel MFA exhibitions, one Instagram account has stepped up to the plate. Check out the Social Distance Gallery for virtual BFA & MFA thesis shows.
  • Studio visits are an essential way for the creative community to socialize and experience new and exciting work in intimate settings. However, just because we can’t physically visit each other’s studios, doesn’t mean that studio visits should be canceled. A Google Doc has been created where you can list your availability for virtual studio visits. Quarantine or not, this is a great way to connect artists who are miles apart in physical distance. Virtual studio visits have the potential to expand the reach of artist’s work and the communication between the artist and viewer.
  • Artsolation is a multidisciplinary online academic platform on the study of visual cultures. It was created by Lauren Rozenberg and Laura Scalabrella Spada as a response to feelings of isolation, realities of social distancing and fearful uncertainties about the future. Artsolation is intended to circulate research and reflect on a multitude expressions related to visual culture. It is an interactive site, in that they are seeking contributions from emerging and established academics. The creators “welcome short article submissions from all fields and career stages, but especially the voices of young academics, writers and artists.”
  • Transmission is a platform for connecting creatives across the world and promoting their work during this period of disruption due to the global pandemic. You can currently check out the work of featured artists and you will soon be able to view livestream performances of music and other events and read published pieces like short stories and poems. Last but not least, there’s an open call for art for an online exhibition.
  • Artsteps is an app that enables users to upload their art and curate it within a digital gallery space.
  • Sam Haller and his three roommates have taken an artful approach to their time at home by recreating iconic works of art using household objects and props. They post these recreations on an Instagram page called Covid Classics.
  • Quaranteens are a collective of New York City based high school students and Kate Levy, who is the Co-Director of Youth Documentary Workshop at Educational Video Center. Prior to the pandemic, they had been working on a documentary film as a part of the Educational Video Center (EVC) community, which is a “non-profit youth media organization dedicated to teaching documentary video as a means to develop the artistic, critical literacy, and career skills of young people, while nurturing their idealism and commitment to social change.” In light of the pandemic, the students have continued to utilize the medium of storytelling and multimedia art processes to document individual and collective adolescent experiences in response to the abrupt changes in their daily lives.

Podcasts

Articles/Books/Guides


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❤ Adam