If you’re an art educator, chances are that you have heard of or even have been using Artsonia as a place to “digitally hang” student artwork. When I started using Artsonia six years ago, I knew it would be good for my students; what I didn’t know at the time was how it would become an amazing art advocacy tool.
Artsonia has become better than any student art show I could host; it reaches more family and friends, regardless of geographic distance or busy schedule, communicates art concepts in project descriptions, reinforces student technology use, and generates funds for your program. It does all that . . . without all the staples and tape.
The benefits breakdown:
Ok, sounds good but. . .
. . . well here are some of the nuts and bolts to help you get you started.
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Permission slips. Depending on your school policy, you may be required to get permission slips for participating artists. Make your own or download and customize one of these templates: Casual or Formal (Microsoft Word format). Be sure to include a space for parent email addresses on your permission slip. Increasing participation from family and friends is the key to success in Artsonia. It is worth the extra time to enter emails – parents get an email each time artwork is published or comments are posted, continually keeping them in touch with the learning going on in your classroom.
Volunteers. I started using volunteers to help me last year (I don’t know why I waited so long). I keep a bin to hold artwork ready to photograph along with a binder holding class lists, and a camera (with extra batteries). When artwork is ready, I send out an email to my volunteer list. The first volunteer to “Reply All” agrees to photograph and digitally crop the artwork. The only step left is uploading – something I still prefer to do myself, but certainly doable for a volunteer. In the fall I do a training session and provide this Photography Tip Sheet and Guidelines for volunteers to reference.
Start slow and set a goal. My first year participating in Artsonia I promised to put up one piece of art for each student. I ended up adding more, but I felt like I didn’t raise any expectations too high for the students or myself.
Do you use Artsonia? Please add your school page and any tips in the comments area below.