Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Student Art Sale Success!

I am constantly looking for ways to motivate my Art students. They don't seem to care very much about grades, in fact, the threat of a bad grade almost always backfires; it makes them feel like I'm an authority figure trying to judge and control them, rather than a teacher trying to help them succeed. I've noticed that they all care about friends and family members, however.

I have some students who will spend twice the effort on a project if they have someone in mind for whom to make their art. An upcoming niece's birthday will give an assignment enough added purpose, in the mind of a student, to make the pieces a superior. Most students will put forth more effort if there's food involved, and almost all are motivated by money.

So I decided this year, we should have a Christmas art sale.

Matt Forrest, a new printmaking professor at Georgia College and State University showed up at my classroom doorstep one day with talent and a desire to volunteer. I mentioned an art sale and he immediately got busy taking pictures of my student's paintings and printing them out. I mounted them onto foam board and shrink wrapped  (AKA plastic wrapped) them for a professional touch.

Matt also printed some copies onto a special paper. He taught my students how to soak their images in water, peal off the plastic portion of the paper and place it on mugs that I had ordered from Crate and Barrel. It takes a little effort to keep the image smooth as it dries, but we managed to keep most in tact, and then we baked them in the oven at about 300 until it became glossy, like the rest of the mug.

We also sold ceramic ornaments displayed on a Christmas tree. Students worked collaboratively glazing and painting ornaments that they didn't necessarily make.

We kept the pricing simple and reasonable. Mugs and prints sold for $10 each and each student got to pocket the money for his/her product while still holding onto the original artwork! The ornaments sold for $2.00 a piece and we earned just enough for a pizza party. Helping students make products they can be proud to display and comfortable marketing is so rewarding for me, as a teacher.

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