There is much to be said for the process of art making as a means to itself. It is therapeutic. It is a way to learn, grow and observe the world more carefully. But good art, like good ice cream should be shared with others. And I find that when my students know that their work will be displayed, they are more likely to work hard and make something worth displaying.
My students have an art exhibit right now at our local Good Will. Participation perks for them have included a field trip to an opening reception with live music, tasty refreshments, and interaction with members of the community. They were mentioned us on local TV and we got a write up in the local paper. Four pieces sold at opening night. Fifteen more students got paid this week for work they submitted to The American Printing House for the Blind Insights Art Contest last year.
We had a school wide exhibit in December and will have another in the Spring to coincide with the school concerts. But there's something extra satisfying to step outside our little family of students and teachers into the real world. This spring we will have another exhibition of student work at Georgia College about an hour away. I'm not likely to have many students go on to art careers, but as long as they stick with me, they get a chance to feel like a pro.