Professional Visual Art Education Presentations

Contact John Krenik to present hands-on workshops and lectures on any of the following topics for your professional development experiences or conferences.

Would Teaching Either Problem-based Learning or Skills-based Learning Significantly Increase Students Drawing Abilities? (Interactive discussion)
Do art students increase their drawing ability better through problem-based learning, or technical skill-based learning? Through a discussion based on recent research, participants will begin to formulate some answers. It can be debated whether students learn to draw accurately through problem solving, or technical skills. There are those who believe drawing from observation involves technical skill, understanding of spatial orientation, and mathematical conventions (Diket, 2009). Drawing skills help students become aware of aesthetic and expressive qualities and experiences (Silver, 1989). Marshall (2008) argued technical and conceptual skills be taught simultaneously. Eisner (1997) argued artists must be successful with technical skill to properly express artistic vision. Conversely, Kozbelt (2001) argued, if a person perceives well, they also draw well. During observation drawing, students, who gaze back and forth between the object and their drawing, achieve greater accuracy (Coen-Cagli et al., 2007). Anticipating drawing a complicated edge affects spatial understanding, increasing the likelihood of accuracy (Seeley & Kozbelt, 2008). Kozbelt & Seeley (2007) hypothesize artist's advantage at perception and drawing stem from object recognition, practice and concentrating throughout previous knowledge interferences.

Revisiting Field Dependence/Independence, Perception, Creativity and Artistic Outcomes (research lecture)
How students perceive their world impacts how and why they create art as they do. Field dependence/independence provides some answers as to how artists see the world differently than nonartists. The Children's Embedded Figures Test (CEFT) (Karp & Konstadt, 1963) has been used as a creativity, and perception test. The CEFT is a reliable measure to distinguish artists from nonartists because of the perceptual ability to distinguish shapes in a complicated pattern (Clark & Zimmerman, 1984). High scores on the CEFT, and Clark's Drawing Abilities Test (Clark, 1989) indicated field independence was correlated with a high degree of creativity (Clark & Zimmerman, 1984). Students who were rated very high by their visual art teachers also scored high in the CEFT (Clark & Zimmerman, 1984). A high degree of perception distinguished artists from nonartists, and artists had a high correlation with higher scores on the CEFT and higher scores on a drawing test than nonartists (Kozbelt, 2001). This suggests artists perceive things differently, are more creative, are familiar with and understand complicated patterns, and have a better visual memory (Kozbelt, 2001).

Arts Day: Engaging your Entire School Population in the Arts during an Entire School Day (interactive lecture)
Find out how you can actively advocate for the arts by engaging your entire student body in arts activities all day. Examine schedules, resources, and small and large group events. This presentation advocates for arts in our schools by engaging the entire school population in arts activities throughout an entire school day. The goal of arts day is to gain a greater understanding, awareness, and appreciation of the arts, especially for non-arts students not scheduled for art. Participants will view and discuss scheduling of artists to teach workshops in the visual, performing, kinesthetic and musical arts so each student rotates through 3 workshops. Participants will view and discuss 2 large group activities the entire school participates in for an hour. Participants will know how to take advantage of resources such as volunteers, cultural organizations, websites, parents, grants, and commercial outlets. Participants will view video clips of small group workshops as well as large group events. The goal of this presentation is for participants to walk away with enough information to start their own “Arts Day” at their own school.

Abstract Art: Appreciation through Personal Experience (hands-on)
Join us discussing the meaning of abstraction. View slides of 8th grade student work, and create your own personally meaningful work from problem-finding and problem-solving. Bring a great unit home! Participants discuss abstraction and originality and the groundwork of individual abstract expressive symbolism undertaken in order to understand how abstract art reveals purposive expressions of the self. Participants then create their own abstract art symbolically showing how they solve a problem they find, or achieve a goal. Participants may also choose to create an abstract mandala. Learning outcomes include: View and discuss how symbolism is used in abstract and original artwork; create meaningful, abstract, original symbols to use in artwork; create artwork showing you solving problems, achieving goals, or exploring the self; adopt lesson to participants' grade level.

Creativity and Intelligence: What Underlying Influences do Motivation and Attention have on Creativity and Learning? (research lecture)
The practice of visual art is informed by the fundamental influences of motivation and attention on creativity and intelligence as they relate to student learning in the art room. The purpose of this presentation is to inform participants of the underlying influences motivation and attention has on creativity, intelligence and learning. Because of selective attention, the brain can only do one thing at a time at the conscious level, as it sifts through environmental stimuli, information from memories, making decisions, as well as responses (Carr, 2004, Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Creativity is an external rather than an internal systems model made up of the domain, field, and individual (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Creativity stems from neural computation during deliberate and spontaneous thought through emotional and cognitive information (Dietrich, 2004). Creative ideation is important to the learning process to produce quality ideas. It's the average students, and not those who do very well in school who become successful later in life (Snyder, 2007). Exposure to a wide range of media and context expands the breadth of knowledge or g factor for the highly creative.

Neuroscience and Creativity: Why Every Art Teacher Should Know How Their Students Think and Create (research lecture)
Take a closer look at recent neuroscientific developments in the systemic organization of thinking and creating to better understand the underlying structures of the neuronal functions of thinking and creating. Visual art educators can learn from recent brain developments in neuroscience, such as the systemic neuroscientific manner of how people think and create. By taking a close look at the systemic organization of thinking and creating, art teachers can begin to understand the underlying structures of the neuronal functions of their students. Teachers must understand the neuroscience involved in the self-organization of thinking and creating. Neuroscience and thinking, and neuroscience and creativity will be examined so as to better understand their relationships. One important relationship is that of neuronal functions. Comparing neuronal synaptic activity to the way people think and create may reveal similarities that cause visual art teachers to reorganize their pedagogy based on recent developments in neuroscience.

Neurological Functions, Thinking, and Creativity: Gaining a Greater Understanding of How People Think and Create (research lecture)
Participants look at recent neuroscientific developments in the systemic organization of thinking and creating to better understand the underlying structures of the neuronal functions of thinking and creating. Visual art educators can learn from recent brain developments in neuroscience, such as the systemic neuroscientific manner of how we think and create. By taking a close look at the systemic organization of thinking and creating, art teachers can begin to understand the underlying structures of the neuronal functions of their students. In narrowing the topic of the systemic self-organization thinking and creating encompasses, teachers must understand the neuroscience involved in thinking and creating. Neuroscience and thinking, and neuroscience and creativity will be examined so as to better understand their relationships. One important relationship is that of neuronal functions. It can be argued that the human brain is systemically organized based upon neuronal functions (Kelso, 1995; Scott, 1997). Comparing neuronal synaptic activity to the way people think and create may reveal similarities that cause teachers to reorganize pedagogy based on recent developments in neuroscience.

Neuroscience, Self Awareness and its Relation to Art: A Specific Look at Adolescent Neurology (research lecture)
This presentation examines brain functions necessary for self-awareness. The adolescent mind thinks like no other. Participants find out how the adolescent mind can become made self aware through art education. The purpose of this research is to discover relationships of neuroscience, self awareness and art through grounded theory. Findings include relationships to theory of mind, novelty, socialization and risk-taking. Adolescents are beginning to realize underpinnings of their actions and reactions, and visual art teachers can help students through this developmental process. Implications for art teachers and administrators support using visual art education to help adolescents become more self aware. Findings include neuroscientific self awareness relationships of theory of mind, adolescent pruning, risk taking, novelty seeking, and adolescent socialization. Adolescent emotion and the role of the amygdala affect temperament, intentions, action and awareness. Risk-taking and the relationship of consciousness and social awareness are different for adolescents. Novelty and play, as well as the way in which arts affect self awareness, are also unique to adolescents.

Abstract Mandalas and Self-Awareness (hands-on)
Participants examined abstract mandalas and what 8th grade students wrote about them, as well as discussing the groundwork of individual abstract expressive symbolism undertaken in order to understand how students' mandalas reveal their inner and outer selves. Rubrics and written reflections that guided students through the process are discussed. Participants create their own mandalas which symbolically showe how they solve a problem or achieve a personal goal.

Mindful Expressions of Fear, Memories, and the Surreal (interactive lecture)
In this presentation Participants examine how the work of artists and students reflect the self awareness of fear, memories and surrealities. Areas of the brain linked to fear, memories and surreal are reviewed to show how they facilitate students understanding and expressing their own greatest fear, deepest memories, and super realities. Rubrics and written reflections will be analyzed for projects on fear expressions, depth drawings, and creating surreal art to determine understandings demonstrated by students.

Visual Figurative Language with Meaning (lecture)
A presentation on using visual figurative language in artwork to help students express ideational topics in sculptures. Examples of visual figurative language are metaphors, similes, exaggeration, hyperboles, irony, oxymoron, personification, symbolism, idioms and onomatopoeias formed into artwork. An example of using an oxymoron in visual figurative language would be creating a clay sculpture resembling a “watch tower”.

Creating Beautiful Elaborate Patterns (hands-on)
A presentation on creating meaningful elaborate patterns such as rotational designs, Hawaiian quilt motifs, overall repeat patterns, imbrications, and diapers. Participants view and discuss examples of student work as well as how these patters were created. Participants then choose one or more patterns to create.

Creating Art from Personal Issues (interactive lecture)
This interactive presentation will explore how the connectivity of brain research and students personal issues help students understand how and why art is created. Participants will view and discuss a variety of art projects relating to students' personal issues. Participants will discuss how this approach helps students understand how to effectively use sensory, formal, and expressive qualities as well as visual figurative language to express issues very real to students. This presentation includes the importance of making learning meaningful through interdisciplinary connections and helping students learn through their interests, increasing their artistic skills through experimentation, engaging discussions through critical response, and becoming reflective thinkers through written reflections and self-evaluations. Student projects presented included personal issue posters, social issue murals, artwork that expresses their greatest fear or confidence, and positive social change murals.

Memorials and Tributes (lecture)
This presentation is on meaningful clay memorial sculptures students created for someone they felt needed a memorial or tribute. Students created memorials for someone they admire who passed away, or a tribute for an admirable person still living. This interactive slide presentation included the rubric and written reflections used to guide students through the process.

Meaningful and Controversial Social and Personal Art Issues (interactive lecture, hands on)
This presentation is on creating powerful controversial murals and posters of social and personal issues. Some social topics include the events of 9/11, hate crimes, and racism. Personal topics ranged from busy schedules and stress to drug addiction and alcoholism. Participants view and discuss the images as well as how creating art helps students cope with these issues. Participants create their own meaningful social or personal issue art.

Linear Perspective (hands-on)
Do you need to brush up your linear perspective skills or want to know how to draw certain objects from various viewpoints? Linear perspective is drawing three dimensional structures accurately using vanishing points. Participants are shown how to sequentially teach linear perspective to students followed by participants practicing concepts they needed more skill with.

Personal Issue Posters (hands-on)
This presentation shows how students created posters of a personal issue they experienced, followed by participants creating their own personal issue poster using symbolism and metaphors. To enhance expressive qualities.

Social Issue Murals (lecture)
A presentation on social issue topics of war, terrorism, alcoholism, social services, and sexual orientation. Participants view and discussed controversial murals created by middle school students.

Architectural Gingerbread Houses (hands-on)
This is a presentation using graham crackers and other candies and sweet foods as an art medium for architectural structures. Participants create their own Gingerbread houses and eat them.

Egyptian Registers (hands-on)
This presentation reviews the rules of Egyptian art. Using these rules, participants create a mural of themselves with everything they need in their afterlife in the Egyptian style of painting.

Sundials (hands-on)
Participants find their latitude and longitude and created sundials out of clay for their exact geographic location using maps. Participants also create an outdoor sundial out of chalk and foam core using a compass.