fall 100 teen artists from throughout the Chicago area gather on Saturday
mornings at Art and Design Hall at the University of Illinois at Chicago
to work with student teachers from the UIC Art Education Program to
explore contemporary art and to develop artmaking and critical thinking
skills. The Workshop is divided into groups organized around themes
and techniques. This gives students the opportunity for
in-depth investigation of media and themes.
UICs Art Education Program recognizes that there is often a
wide gap between art as it is made, seen, and understood in universities,
museums, and communities, and how art is taught at the elementary
and secondary levels. Spiral Workshop is a place in which teen artists
and emerging art teachers work together to envision and create new
styles of art education--an education that is rooted in the stories
and concerns of the students and their communities through connecting
the practices of contemporary artmaking with the practices of contemporary
Spiral Workshop has a dual mission:
* to be a studio where teen artists can explore artmaking in a cultural
* to be a laboratory to develop curriculum projects that can be taught
in middle school and high school art classrooms.
Spiral Workshop creates curriculum that encourages students to investigate
questions relating visual and social phenomena. Many interesting art
projects like much interesting contemporary art encourages the reconsideration
of our notions of "the real," "the natural," and
"the normal"--seeing how these are socially constructed
through complex layerings of meanings and metaphors.
The goal of Spiral Workshop is not to come up with a new orthodoxy,
a single set of projects or ideas that sum up the totality of todays
art discourses, but rather to think of our projects as interventions
and additions to the current curriculum-- changing the way students
think about culture and artmaking. It is an eclectic, postmodern approach
to curriculum construction. We pick through curriculum artifacts,
refurbish what is still useful, discard what is no longer necessary,
and introduce entirely new contents when needed.
At Spiral Workshop we consider four components when designing a project.
Each project should (1) deal with an issue of developmental importance
to the students, (2) be based on a contemporary social theme, (3)
include examples of past and recent artworks which have explored these
themes, and (4) teach a method (conceptual and/or technical) for constructing
works of art.
Every year the Spiral Workshops culminates in
a show and community reception. Typically hundreds of people attend
the show--teens, community adults, families, area art teachers and
other educators as well as university students and faculty. Spiral
student artists dont just create exercises. They arent
just practicing to create "real art." Spiral students and
faculty work together to make individual art projects and collaborative
installations that investigate vital issues for the youth artists
and their many communities.
To receive mailings about future Spiral Workshop
sessions or invitations to the Spiral Workshop Community Reception,
call and give your name and address to the Spiral Workshop Representative
at the UIC School of Art and Design office. 312-996-3337