Monthly Archives: March 2012

Art Supports Literacy

By Camille Tewell, Teacher Programs Manager, The Big Picture

The Big Picture teamed up with the North Carolina Reading Association recently to reflect on how art can enhance literacy. Twenty-two teachers from all over the state (from Swain County to Tyrrell County!) put their heads together in North Carolina Museum of Art galleries to look at art, make connections, and learn new teaching strategies. Here’s what some of them had to say about their experiences:

This opens up a world of ideas! I am excited at creating plans/units that include a work of art.

Before the workshop it had never occurred to me to use art in literacy. I will now branch out.

I loved seeing how to connect comprehension skills in reading to works of art.

I had never thought about using writing and art together other than the “look and write about it” goal.  Now I’ve seen ways to teach writing through art.

The investigation continues at our July workshop, Teaching Visual Literacy (details coming soon). Meanwhile, check out the trove of lesson plans aligned to the new Common Core.

Installing El Anatsui

By Ashley Weinard, NCMA Educator and Project Director, The Big Picture

El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa opens at the North Carolina Museum of Art this Sunday, March 18. The exhibition traces the career of contemporary artist El Anatsui—from his early woodwork in Ghana to today’s metal wall sculptures created in his studio in Nigeria.

This cool time-lapse video makes the installation of the El Anatsui exhibition look easy! However, installing a work by El Anatsui requires a lot of problem solving. The works are large, malleable, and heavy. They are not framed like a traditional painting on canvas; nor does the artist give any direction about how his works should be displayed. It is up to museum curators, art handlers, and conservators to hoist the metal works onto the wall and determine their final design.

NCMA conservator Perry Hurt describes the problems he faced when he first installed the Museum’s Lines That Link Humanity and his discovery of a special tool (chopsticks!) that made the work much easier.

Big Picture Student Exhibition: Call for Entries

By Camille Tewell, Teacher Programs Manager, The Big Picture

Want to see your students’ work exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art this fall? Test out one of the many art-integrated lesson plans on ArtNC, and submit the best student work sample. (You are welcome to make modifications to the lesson plan to meet the needs of your students.) Two-dimensional works must be no larger than 18 x 24 inches, and three-dimensional works should be less than 10 inches deep.

Submissions from any grade level or subject area are welcome. Works will be selected based on the originality of the student work sample and the teacher’s use or adaptation of the art-integrated lesson plan. Selections will be made by June 29, 2012. Teachers must submit the physical works by August 6, 2012. Student works will be on view in the GlaxoSmithKline Student Gallery at the NCMA from October 23, 2012 through January 7, 2013.

To submit an entry, e-mail Ashley Weinard at with the following by May 31, 2012:

Entries must include:

  • Photo of the student work sample (jpeg is recommended)
  • Photo of the implementation of the lesson plan in the classroom (jpeg is recommended)
  • Title of the related ArtNC lesson plan and a description of any modifications you made
  • Two- to three-sentence description explaining why you think the student’s product is exemplary