Artsonia: More Than Just An Online Art Gallery

ArtsoniaIf 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:

  • Generates funds for your art program.  Artsonia is completely free to use and 15% of the revenue from purchased products, featuring your student’s artwork, goes back to your art program. (via Dick Blick art supplies credit or check to your school art program)
  • Artwork stays online forever! The vision of Artsonia is to someday have your 2nd graders show their artwork to their children and grandchildren by way of their Artsonia gallery. Older students love looking back at how they have grown as an artist over the years.
  • Communicates your art objectives for each art experience.  When parents understand what their child is learning it validates and builds support for your art curriculum.
  • Motivates children to do their best in class when they know hundreds of people could see their artwork from around the world.
  • Fan Clubs reach family members and friends who might otherwise never see student art, updating them via email each time an artwork is added.
  • Comments left for artists from visitors are a great self-esteem boost!  All comments must be approved by parents so it is completely monitored (by someone other than you).
  • Ok, sounds good but. . .
    . . . well here are some of the nuts and bolts to help you get you started.


    Can’t see video above? Click here.

    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.

    Theresa McGee

    Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!

    2 Comments

    • November 23, 2009

      david

      Thanks Theresa,
      I enjoyed the post and will share it with friends.

    • December 15, 2010

      Keziah

      Artsonia is awesome! I love it! Artsonia helps artists like me feel good about their artwork. Families can buy things with their child’s artwork on it too. They can also comment and join fanclubs.
      P.S. Please join my fanclub at http://www.artsonia.com/Keziah19 and click on “Join Keziah19’s Fan Club”

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