Taking the Art Critique Public

Photo: Art class in high school foyer.

A group of students stands in a semi-circle around a large, wall-mounted, LED monitor in the Hopkinton High School foyer. It is a class of art students  engaged in a class critique. This kind of public session is becoming an increasingly common sight.

Since its installation, the digital display, across from the main office, has featured a rotation of current student art.

Photo: Student artwork on digital display.

Student artwork on digital display.

The display was funded by of a grant from the Hopkinton Education Foundation. Not only has it increased in the quantity and timeliness of student work on public display, it serves as a teaching tool too.

The district’s art subject matter leader Colleen Gianino always intended it to serve more than one purpose. Part digital installation showcase, part extension of the art room studio, Gianino was looking for a digital hub for the department.

“It invites more interactivity into the curriculum. It also invites students to take their artwork and experiences out into the rest of the school,” Gianino said.

Gianino’s class now regularly takes her class into this public space where students share feedback with one another.

The display allows all students to see a large scale version of the work. The work displayed can be either an image of analog creations or digital compositions. Sharing in the foyer, however, makes the whole creative process a more public affair.

Conducting open critiques like this provides a window into the work of the class, but also invites comments from passers-by.

“So classmates can peer review one another. The teacher can participate in conversation. And anyone passing by can participate in the exchange of ideas and analysis of artwork,” Gianino said.

Photo: Students offering an art critique with digital display and an iPad.

Students offering an art critique with digital display and an iPad.

She also adds a greater digital twist. The iPad, which serves as a control for the display, allows her to extend the class critique, making the whole experience more interactive.

Using the app Explain Everything, students are able to mark up a digital copy of a work with a stylus, making notes and suggestions. Additionally, the app records all of the audio comments made during the critique.

Every student can receive a documented version of the experience for later reference. It also allows Gianino the chance to archive a student’s growth in a new and innovative way.

Merging physical and digital spaces expands the reach of student artwork beyond the art wing. More than ever before, student work can be shared with the wider public, in more ways than one.

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