Meet the MFA Students of New York Studio School

NYSS MFA students at workStudents at the New York Studio School are encouraged to cultivate a personal vision through investigation of the world around them. Visit and see their work at 2018 Fall Open Studios and Info Session, November 18, 1–4 pm.

Emily Nam (MFA 2018)
“The New York Studio School has assisted me in seeing the world and to think about the world in a way that is accessible to my process of thinking and my desire to express. Without imposing one way of viewing, a great attribute of the School has been the array of classes and diverse teachers – each lending their own individual lessons by which to embrace and reject in the search for my own voice as a practitioner.”

Marco Palli (MFA 2018)
“I began taking Evening & Saturday Classes at NYSS focused on drawing and sculpture. One day, a student came in the classroom about 11:30 pm, singing “someone is a sculptor!” She suggested that I participate in the Marathon Program. I did and I felt like I was training in a boot camp. I was confused and exhausted, but as soon as I recovered from the physical exhaustion, I realized that I wanted more!”

Sophy Lee (MFA 2016)
“The Studio School is multi-cultural, and encourages and welcomes international students to join and participate in their programs. The School also understands the financial difficulty of international students, and provides them with financial support.”

Now accepting applications for Fall 2019. Apply by February 15, 2019.

To find out more about scholarship opportunities for the MFA and Certificate Programs, visit or email 

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VCUarts Kinetic Imaging Seeks MFA Candidates for 2019

Still from Chaotic Sigh, Ruiqi Zhang, KI MFA Candidacy show, 2018. Mixed media installation: TV monitor, LED sign, Smartphone, TV tripod, Smartphone holder,
Still from Chaotic Sigh, Ruiqi Zhang, KI MFA Candidacy show (2018). Mixed media installation: TV monitor, LED sign, Smartphone, TV tripod, Smartphone holder.

The VCUarts Kinetic Imaging MFA is a competitive two-year, studio-based program that supports six to eight artists each year. Each student has a private studio and 24-hour access to extensive facilities: media labs, sound studio, motion capture equipment, digital and analog animation studios, production room, green screen space. In addition, we support work with VR/AR, installation, real-time coding, projection mapping, gaming, video production, sound art, electronic music and synthesizers. KI boasts a close relationship to the Dance Department, allowing for exploration of the body, real and virtual.

Students have the freedom to expand their art practices and collaborate across different disciplines with close mentorship of full-time faculty: Stephen Vitiello, Bob Kaputof, Bob Paris, Semi Ryu, Kate Sicchio, Pamela Turner, Stephanie Thulin and Orla Mc Hardy, as well as access to visiting artists for critiques and studio visits. Recent visiting artists have included Peter Burr, Steina Vasulka, Pamela Z, Karen Yasinsky and Shelley Roden.

MFA Open House is on November 10. Application deadline is January 15, 2019. International students are asked to apply at least one month earlier. For information contact Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

VCUarts is one of the nation’s leading arts schools, dedicated to advancing creative expression, supporting new scholarship, sparking innovation and deepening the role of the arts in society. Its visual arts and design graduate program has received top rankings by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit

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How to Transform a Basic Drawing Exercise into an Exciting Lesson

We all know the one thing we lack as art educators is time! There is never enough of it. So, each year I search for new lessons that will quickly teach my students a multitude of techniques. One of my favorite lessons of this kind starts with the well-known book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In it, author Betty Edwards outlines an activity that has the reader recreate Picasso’s Portrait of Igor Stravinsky…upside-down!

student artwork

The Benefits of Drawing Upside-Down

According to Edwards, drawing upside-down helps students practice recognizing shapes and lines in a subject. By turning their reference photo upside-down, they can begin to draw with the right side of their brains. They don’t have to worry as much about the final product, and can focus more on the actual drawing process.

According to the book, this is because the left side of the brain processes visual cues, interpreting them as familiar patterns and symbols. By turning the reference photo around, it becomes unrecognizable. The right side of the brain is forced to see the lines, shapes, and abstracted details instead of the object as a whole.

It’s a fascinating concept, and one I use early on with my drawing students. I have found it to be a wonderful tool to aid them in drawing portraits as well.

I used to teach this lesson to my students as a one-day study. But then I began to think about the ways we could enhance this quick teaching activity and ended up turning it into a full week-long lesson complete with three learning objectives! Best of all? This lesson works with almost any grade level.

Here are the steps you can use to introduce the lesson to your students.

student artwork

1. Do a Quick Blind Contour Study

Give each student a copy of Picasso’s Portrait of Igor Stravinsky and a piece of 12” x 18” drawing paper. Have them turn the Picasso portrait upside-down. Then, have students do a quick blind contour study on their drawing paper using graphite. This warm-up activity gets them used to working upside-down and seeing the lines and the shapes in the work.

2. Do a Second Contour Study

Have students turn their drawing paper over and do another study. This time, have them do an upside-down contour study slowly. Remind them to really look at the lines they are drawing. Have them measure each feature, paying attention to the proportions. This activity can be frustrating, so remind students it’s about learning to see, which is often one of the most difficult things to do in art. However, it’s also the key to being a successful technical artist.

3. Experiment with Line Quality

The next objective is to teach students the importance of line quality. Have students take drawing pens and begin to go over their pencil lines. They can choose if they want to trace their blind contour or their regular contour study. Encourage students to add thick and thin lines until they create an interesting composition.

Line quality is often an important, yet overlooked art concept, so I allow students to spend some time on this and really experiment with the art of line. I also ask them to get creative and do something interesting in the negative space to enhance their work.

student artwork

4. Add Color

The final learning objective is to bring in color theory. Review primary and secondary colors, neutrals, complements, analogous and monochromatic schemes, along with tints and shades and any other concepts you like. If it has to do with color, review and discuss!

Then have students experiment with dry media such as markers, Art Stix, crayons, and oil pastels. Remind them this part is about finding textures that work well together and create an interesting contrast. Have students select a color scheme they enjoy, and add in their colors using the various mediums. The results are always outstanding!

5. Present Finished Work

Finally, have students mat and sign their work. I like to hold a critique and hang their work in the hallway as a class display. I still remember the first year I took this simple study and moved it to a full-blown art lesson. I almost cried happy tears to see the final exhibit. The creativity, the learning, and the art was a true testament to what a good, solid art lesson can ultimately teach our kids. Not to mention how successful my students felt about their work!

I have found the more learning objectives I can tie into each lesson, the more my students discover through the process. This is a tried-and-true lesson that always garners successful final masterpieces.

I love taking a traditional teaching tool and turning it into a successful lesson. If you’re interested in adding engaging drawing lessons that build skills to your curriculum, don’t miss the AOE Course Studio: Drawing. You’ll gain a fresh perspective and the inspiration to redesign and scaffold your drawing curriculum.

Have you considered using Betty Edward’s book to springboard new lesson ideas?

What lessons do you teach that help your students better understand contour lines?

The post How to Transform a Basic Drawing Exercise into an Exciting Lesson appeared first on The Art of Ed.

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How to Create a Successful Mural with Younger Students

If you’ve never created a mural with your students, you might be thinking, where do I even begin? Unlike high school students, students in lower grades may need more guidance with planning and skill building to tackle such a big task.

It might feel like they need too much support to venture into the world of mural design. But, don’t let that scare you! Elementary and middle school students can absolutely complete a mural design in your school.

Follow these 6 steps to ensure your next mural project is a success!

kids painting mural

1. Planning the Design

When working on a mural design with younger students for the first time, it’s wise for you to have a clear direction. Many students will never have experienced creating a mural, and it can be difficult for them to grasp the big picture.

If possible, you will want to allow for some student voice. You may ask students to create drawings around a theme or help with color selection. As the lead designer, you can use their ideas to create a cohesive whole.

2. Drawing Your Design

Before you start painting, make sure you have a solid plan in the form of a completed sketch that scales to the wall on which you’ll be working. Personally, I find it helpful to create a digital drawing to expedite the planning process.

Another thing to consider at this point is the wall surface itself. If it needs to be primed, now is the time.

mural drawing

Here are 3 tips for getting your design onto the wall. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to use your projector. This can help you enlarge and trace your image with ease.
  2. If you are using a repeating shape or pattern, consider using a stencil to expedite the process.
  3. When drawing on the wall, make sure you use a drawing material that is easy to see. I recommend a dark graphite stick or a permanent marker. Both go onto the wall easily, can be covered up, and guarantee no design outlines will be lost.

This article is a great place to start when planning a mural project. If you’re looking for even more in-depth information, you will want to check out the Mural Painting PRO Learning Pack. High school art teacher and mural expert, Matt Christenson, will take you through the process in full detail from start to finish.

3. Selecting the Right Type of Paint

Unfortunately, if you are creating a mural in your school building, chances are you’ll be painting on a cinder block wall. Although not always ideal, you can still make this surface work for a mural.

The most difficult part in choosing materials is selecting the right type of paint. If you will be painting directly on a wall, it is best to use wall paint instead of acrylic. While it does come with a sheen, gloss paint will be most durable. However, semi-gloss will also work well. You might also think about getting a paint you can easily wipe clean. As students walk past the mural in the hallway, things like pencil marks can appear and will need to be cleaned off.

4. Preparing Your Paint

If you are mixing custom colors, make sure to make large batches. You don’t want to run into the problem of not being able to match a color halfway through the project. That said, write down your “paint recipes” just in case you do run out!

mural paint

Using small containers to distribute paint to individuals or pairs of students generally works well. At the end of each day place them in a large plastic container sealed with a lid. This will save the paint for the next day, and you won’t have to refill colors as often!

5. Starting Off Slow

partially finished mural

As you begin painting with students, be methodical about how you are going to work with the colors. Label the wall with the color each space should be to avoid mistakes. Then, instead of introducing all of the colors at once, try using only one color per day or class period. This method will cause less confusion and allow you to keep track of how many coats have been added to each space.

6. Enlist Help for Final Touchups

Final Touches

After your mural has at least two coats in all areas, it will need some touchups. Having too many students help with this step can be overwhelming. Think about having only a handful of students help with any necessary outlining or fixes. It’s even better if you can enlist the help of some of your former students. Contacting high school students you trust and who have a higher skill set will save you a great deal of time. Students might even be able to earn service hours by volunteering their time.

Working on a mural with your students for the first time can be overwhelming. This experience provides students an opportunity to take ownership in their school building and serves as a constant reminder of the teamwork and collaboration used to create such an amazing work of art. Try using these six tips to make your mural creating experience a success.

What tips do you have for creating a mural with your students?

Do you have an awesome mural you’ve created with your students to share?

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CalArts’ School of Art Is Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2019

Cat’s Cradle performance at CalArts’ School of Art.

The commitment of California Institute of the Arts’ School of Art to artistic innovation and critical reflection has been key to the enviable success in training the practitioners who go on to make important contributions to their respective fields.

Unique programs in Art, Art & Technology, Photography & Media, and Graphic Design offer specific courses of study, and yet none is isolated from the others. True to the Institute’s founding ethos, students are highly encouraged to collaborate with one another across disciplines and to investigate hybrid art forms—not only within the School of Art but also throughout all of CalArts. This accumulation of varying expertise provides an invaluable foundation on which students can build an independent practice and expand upon the boundaries of art-making.

The faculty at the School of Art seeks out highly motivated, independent-minded students with a strong desire to make art and to challenge conventional ideas. With critique and individual mentoring at the heart of an intensive educational experience, you will be guaranteed the flexibility to shape your own creative development, whether in painting or video, photography or performance, typography or sculpture, digital imaging or sound installation, or, increasingly, new options in multimedia technologies. We give you the necessary room to find your own voice.

For information on how to apply, visit or contact Senior Admissions Counselor to the School of Art, Miranda Hoffs, at

The post CalArts’ School of Art Is Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2019 appeared first on Hyperallergic.

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A Student Lost in the Easy Freedom of Youth Depicted in a Cross-Stitch Mural by Aheneah

Ana Martins, who works as Aheneah, recently reflected on the relaxed freedom of youth and captured that feeling in a cross-stitched intervention on a wall in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. The work is along a popular route to a local school, and is comprised of over 2,300 screws and nearly 760 yards of yarn.

The 22-year-old artist isn’t far from the experience of transitioning from student to adult. Martins shares with Colossal, “Every day, for many years, thousands of kids pass by this wall while going from home to school and from school to home. Most of the time just floating in their thoughts, lost in space, time and routine. Until their paths have to change directions. This happened to me a few years ago.”

She graduated in 2017 with a degree in graphic design, and in her professional work explores the connections between digital and analogue mediums, seeking to  “deconstruct, decontextualize and transform a traditional technique into a modern graphic, connecting cultures and generations.” You can see more from Martins on Instagram and Facebook.

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How to Create Beautiful Fall Prints with Your Students

Printmaking is such a fun art process for our students to learn. It can be intimidating to think about doing printmaking with younger students, but it definitely can be done. One trick is to keep the materials and processes as simple as possible. I love to print with Gelli® plates because they are easy to use and fun for all of my students.

This time of year, many of my students are drawing things related to fall like leaves, scarecrows, haunted houses, and pumpkins. One way to bring those ideas into printmaking is to incorporate leaves. It can provide your students with a fun and timely art experience.

Check out these 3 easy steps to incorporate fall into printmaking with your younger students.

gelli print materials

Step 1: Inspire your students.

While your students may already be thinking about fall, you can take their ideas to the next level with some specific inspiration.

Here are a few options.

  • Read the book, Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert.
  • Have a class discussion about what fall looks and feels like.
  • Show your students the video, Why Do Leave Change Color in the Fall, by SciShow Kids.

If you want students to expand their ideas beyond leaves, you can ask them to draw and cut out paper shapes like pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns to use later in the printmaking process.

Step 2: Demonstrate the printmaking process.

When teaching printmaking, it is important to model for your students. The process outlined below will work for a variety of monoprinting processes.

Looking for more in-depth information? We have the perfect resource for you! In the Creating with Gel Printing Plates PRO Learning Pack, you’ll learn everything you need to get started with the process


  • Gelli® plates or another monoprinting surface
  • Brayers
  • White or colored construction paper
  • Scrap paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Wet wipes
  • Texture materials like real leaves, rubber leaves, leaf stamps, bubble wrap, etc.

making a gelli print


1. Roll Out the Paint

Have students put a few drops of two to three colors of acrylic paint onto the Gelli® plate. Fall colors would work well here! Then, have them take a brayer and roll over the colors until the plate is covered. After that, have students roll the brayer on a scrap piece of paper to help clean it. Be sure to keep the dried scrap paper as it makes fantastic collage material!

2. Add Texture

Now it’s time to add texture. Have them press leaves onto the surface and pick them back up to create a design. If you chose to read Leaf Man for inspiration, they might choose to create their own figure using leaves.

Be sure to remind students not to overdo it. You don’t want to lift off all the paint during this process!

3. Pull the Print

Finally, have your students lay their paper onto the Gelli® plate and rub the back for about 30 seconds to transfer the design.

This is a great process to run in conjunction with other projects, especially if you do not have a class set of Gelli® plates. You might consider having students draw their favorite fall activity or do leaf rubbings while they wait to come to the printing station.

gelli print

3. Give your students time to reflect.

Reflecting is such an important part of the art process. It allows even our youngest students to think about their work as well as the artmaking experience.

Here are a few ways to include reflection time for your students.

  • Have students write what they learned on a sticky note.
  • Let students share their work with the class.
  • Ask your students to think about the process of creating their art and what they enjoyed about it.

Your students will have a blast and be so engaged while creating their own fall inspired print!

What is your favorite fall project?

How do you use Gelli® plates in the classroom?

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An Engaging Mask Making Lesson to Connect Art and Literacy

As art teachers, we are in a unique position to help our students develop all kinds of new skills. For example, not only can we foster their creativity, but we can also help them develop their language skills.

When we encourage our students to engage in the functions of language like listening, reading, writing, and speaking, we are building their communication skills. This will serve them well beyond the art room.

Mask making is a wonderful and surprisingly easy vehicle to connect artmaking to language. And, as a bonus, it’s a favorite among students and teachers.

Try out the lesson below to help your students build both creativity and language skills in the art room.

kids with masks

The Basics

Objective: Inspired by the portraiture of Pablo Picasso and traditional African masks, students will use a variety of art techniques to assemble a unique mask and use it to perform an original written and spoken dialogue for their peers.

Level: Best for 2nd-6th grade

Skills: Coloring, painting, cutting, writing, and speaking

Suggested Minimal Timeframe: Three, 40-minute class periods

Suggested Materials: Cardboard, paper scraps cut into strips, paint, brushes, oil pastels, markers, pipe cleaners, puff balls, scissors, glue, and pencils

Extra Materials: Dialogue framework for students to fill in (see download)

Lesson Procedures

Making the Masks

1. Introduce the Portrait Work of Pablo Picasso

Picasso is famous for his use of exaggerated features and colors, especially in his portraits of women. Talk about the extra long noses, the eyes looking at the viewer and to the side at the same time, and the fish face lips. Also, discuss how he can represent someone without painting a picture that looks exactly like them.

2. Discuss the Various Roles Masks Play

Masks are not just for Halloween. They can represent a character in a play or a special dance. Show some examples of the Mende masks from Sierra Leone and the Butterfly and Plank masks of the Bobo Tribe in Burkina Faso. Do students see any connections with the African masks and Picasso’s portraiture?

3. Make a Cardboard Base

cardboard base

If working with younger learners, it’s nice to have pre-cut pieces of scrap cardboard. Each piece does not need to be the same. If students are creating their own shapes, consider allowing more time for this step. Add a base color with paint or oil pastel to help camouflage the scrap cardboard.

4. Add Facial Features

mask with facial features

Require students to have all the necessary face parts (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, and eyebrows) in some way. This will prevent students from adding one feature and suggesting they are finished with their mask. Use glue, tape, and paint to help it all come together.

5. Take Time to Add Details

mask with facial features

The most successful, standout masks are usually made by students who had an idea and repeated it or added something unexpected. For example, elaborate hairstyles, oversized hats, or wild patterns are great details that make the masks unique. If you can, take advantage of some extra time and keep telling students to “add more.” Show students some options like how to fold, curl, and manipulate paper.

If you’re interested in learning more about using art and literacy together in dynamic ways, do not miss the Literacy Strategies in the Art Room PRO Learning Pack. You’ll be able to watch Megan demo this entire lesson start to finish, plus explore many more ideas to bring literacy and language arts components into all different aspects of your instruction.

Working with Language

As students finish their masks, it’s time to add the language component of this lesson.

1. Create dialogue.

dialogue sheet

Teachers can take many approaches to writing dialogue Students can work independently, in pairs, or a combination of the two. Keep in mind the more interaction students have; the more language practice is taking place. Be sure students understand what dialogue is before they begin. A simple definition will help. Saying something like, “Dialogue means a back and forth conversation between two or more people” works well. Show a clear example.

You can use the handy download below to have your students create their script.

Dialogue Planning Sheet

Download Now!

2. Perform!

performing puppets

After a few rounds of practice, it is time to perform! Lay out clear expectations for both the presenters and the students in the audience. You might talk about things like projecting your voice when on stage or clapping after a performance when in the audience. Don’t be surprised if students want to perform more than once or even have the enthusiasm to create another dialogue altogether.

4 Reasons this Lesson Rocks

No Special Materials Required

Masks are so adaptable, and this particular version can be changed to fit the needs of any classroom. All you need are cardboard pieces large enough to cover students’ faces! It encourages both you and your students to get creative with what you have!

Easy Buy-In

Students latch onto and love mask making. You will not have to do much convincing, just a lot of creating and encouraging. Furthermore, regardless of language or skill level, every student can feel and be successful.

2-D to 3-D in a Flash

By collecting a variety of 2-D materials and transforming them into a 3-D artwork, your students will see how magical their creativity can be!

Opportunity for Advocacy

Students will be pumped to show off their masks. Find as many people for your audience as possible. If you can’t find staff or students to come to your performance, think about arranging a quick masquerade parade for a younger grade.

Insider Tips

Finally, here are four insider tips to make this lesson run as smoothly as possible.

  • Students love the “special” materials like puff balls. Limit them per student if necessary.
  • Delay talking about the dialogue creation and performance until students are farther along in the project and have become animated about their masks. Otherwise, students can become preoccupied with the dialogue portion. They can get overly enthusiastic or anxious and not give the mask the visual attention it deserves.
  • Glue the paper dialogue to the back of the masks so students can read them for their lines during the performance.
  • Invite their classroom teacher or administrator to see a few performances. Students will be so proud to share.

This particular lesson checks all the art educator boxes; it’s standards-based, cross-curricular, and students LOVE their work. As a bonus, the masks showcase the ingenuity of students through the connectivity of language, performance, and art. Moreover, as the teacher, it is so fun to see the creativity and variety in your students’ work.

Have you ever created masks in your classroom?

What other projects do your students make to encourage their language development?

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