Eighteen art teachers from the Madison-Oneida BOCES region are presenting a unique student-teacher art exhibit at a young gallery in Rome to help showcase their work as both teachers and professional artists.
“Art: The Common Thread” opens March 4 from 6-8 p.m. at Artistree Studios and Gallery, 205 W. Dominick Street, Rome. The exhibit will run through March 31 during regular gallery hours: Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
The idea for the exhibit grew from a conversation between Canastota art teachers Kristie Boisen and Denise Whalen two years ago. Last year, Boisen began facilitating a Professional Learning Community for art teachers through MOBOCES, an initiative of a regional Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness grant, which offered many intensive professional development opportunities.
Through the PLC, Boisen brought up the teacher-student art show idea again with her colleagues. Eighteen of the PLC members who also work professionally as artists outside the classroom signed on. They represent seven area school districts.
“Part of the idea of our PLC was to celebrate art teachers as artists. I think that’s something that makes art teachers different from other teachers,” Boisen said.
Susan Grow Colmey, an art teacher at Staley Upper Elementary School in Rome, is a member of the Art Teachers PLC – and also happens to run her own nonprofit gallery in Rome. She opened Artistree in 2014 in the old Oliver’s Building, near the Capitol Theater, and offered the space for the show.
The group decided to host the exhibit during March to celebrate National Youth Art Month, and each teacher exhibitor has invited one outstanding art student to display a piece in the show as well.
“We felt that we couldn’t celebrate the teaching half of ourselves without having our students there,” Boisen said. “We have teachers from all grade levels participating so the students are K-12, and I’m really excited to see some of the elementary school work.”