Monthly Archives: April 2013

With Joy and Gratitude


Dear North Carolina Educators,

Last Friday ArtNC won a Best of the Web Award at the 2013 Museums and Web conference. The NCMA’s education team has been bouncing around on cloud nine ever since. We just can’t stop smiling.

The award signals that our museum technology and education peers are impressed by ArtNC’s concept-based approach, its focus on professional skill building, and our innovative Concept Explorer tool that makes lesson planning art-based and fun. We are proud and excited that people have taken notice and are open to learning from us.

What brings us greater joy is knowing that this award will help us share the incomparable richness and creativity of the NC teaching community with the world at large. Your lesson plans, concept maps, connection ideas, and voices are the heart of ArtNC and the stimulus for this great award. We are proud to showcase the creative ways you use the NCMA collection and the visual arts, in general, as a catalyst for student learning across the disciplines. You inspire us and we dedicate this award to you.

We want to especially thank those of you who were instrumental in helping us re-conceive ArtNC over the last three years. We deeply appreciate the contributions you made as lesson plan writers, prototypers, advisors, test users, and ambassadors. This beautifully diverse list of names shows that North Carolina is truly committed to big picture learning that breaks down the artificial boundaries of geography, grade level and content area.

Barry Barber, Technology, Randolph Co.
Diane Beckman, French and World Literature, NC State University
Samantha Blake, 5th grade, Pitt Co.
Charlene Bowling, Art, Johnston Co.
Deborah Boxall, Chemistry, Wake Co.
Charlene Bryant, Language Arts, Wake Co.
Tonya Buff, Math, Gaston Co.
Paisley Cloyd, Art, Nash Co.
Jaimie Cope, Art, Randolph Co.
Carol Cross, Home School, Wake Co.
Emile Cumpston, Social Studies, Dare Co.
Corinne DiCorcia, Social Studies, Nash Co.
Jennifer French, Art, Wake Co.
Tara Girolimon, Art, Wake Co.
Angie Griffin, Science, UNC-Wilmington
Catherine Griffith, Humanities, Central Carolina Community College
Fusun Griffith, Science/ELA, Wake Co.
Susan Hanehan, Art, Wake Co.
Jo Ann Hart, Art, UNC-Pembroke
Susan Hartley, Dance, Wake Co.
Sharon Hill, Art, Virginia
Steven Hill, Latin/History, Pitt Co.
Susan Hirsch, Civics, Economics and Government, Wake Co.
Susie Holland, Media Specialist, Wake Co.
Wendy Jabs, Art, Wake Co.
Rebecca Jones, Social Studies, Wake Co.
Lisa Kelly-Rouse, Language Arts/Social Studies, Wake Co.
Steve Kibler, Science, Wake Co.
Cindy Kimball, Art, Wayne Co.
Julie Stephen Knapp, English and Media, Orange Co.
Jamie Lathan, History, NC School of Science and Math
Caren Long, 4th/5th Grade, Sampson Co.
Vicki Mahoney, 3rd Grade, Johnston Co.
Elizabeth McAllister, 5th Grade, Onslow Co.
Maureen McAnarney, 1st Grade, Wake Co.
Jacqueline McGee, Social Studies, Wake Co.
Anabela Mendes, French/Spanish, Durham Co.
Wendy Moryoussef, Science/Math, Lee Co.
Jessica Mullen, Math, Pitt Co.
Laura Myers, Art/Special Education, Johnston Co.
Carmen Nurinda, Spanish, Wake Co.
Beverly Phillips, World and US History, Johnston Co.
Candace Phillips, English, Wake Co.
Amanda Robertson, College of Design, NC State University
Jennifer Rogers, Math/Science, Onslow Co.
Sarah Russell, US History, Johnston Co.
Micki Saad, Art, Lee Co.
Joan Satterly, Social Studies/Speech, Wilson Co.
Theresa Saunders, Art, Davidson Co.
Nancy Scobel, Art, Beaufort Co.
Bethann Fravel Seibold, Social Studies, Randolph Co.
Janet Seiz, Art, NC A&T State University
Susan Silver, Art, Wake Co.
Dawn Streets, Social Studies, Chatham Co.
Doug Sturdivant, Language Arts, Wake Co.
Melissa Thibault, Distance Learning, NC School of Science and Math
Kristin Thomas, English, Wake Co.
Zoe Voight, Humanities, NC School of Science and Math
Carolyn Walker, English Language Arts, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools
Darlene Williams, Art, Nash Co.


Keep integrating and keep sharing your creative ideas with us and educators worldwide.


With joy and gratitude,
The Big Picture Team–Ashley, Camille, Kristin, Chad, & Sandy

Timecapsule #3: TIME


Richard Hughes, Untitled (Triptick), 2009, cast polyurethane, H. 12 1/2 x W. 14 x D. 2 1/2 in., Courtesy of the artist, Anton Kern Gallery, N.Y., and Hall Collection, © 2009 Richard Hughes, Anton Kern Gallery, N.Y., and Hall Collection; Photo: Thomas Müller

By Camille Tewell, Teacher Programs Manager, The Big Picture

March 7th, 2013. Fort Worth, TX: I am seated in a museum gallery with a bunch of museum educators from around the country. We have come together in this space for a single hour with a single purpose: to look at a work of art and talk about it.

We’ve done this before, and we’ll do it again, but each experience holds untold possibilities for pleasure and revelation. I can’t help but feel excited. I search the face of our facilitator—a master teacher—knowing that she isn’t here to tell me what I should know or think about this work of art and yet still feeling she is the gate-keeper to the discovery that is about to take place.

We quiet ourselves, get focused—and then somehow the discussion begins. I listen closely to the words of my peers as they begin to unpack this work of art. I am so alert, so mentally present—my brain is buzzing along the flow of discussion, almost too swiftly at times—I have to work to stay with it. Suddenly, I am on the edge of my seat, bolt upright, like a nervous spring. My breathing speeds up and my palms begin to sweat. An idea is pressing on me—I must speak! My hand flies into the air, and now my voice joins the music, and together we move through the work of art, at times swift, then slow, rising and falling with revisions and additions until at last coming to a rest. In the end not a thing has been decided, but nearly all of us are satisfied with the journey, the experience we’ve just had together with this work of art.

John Dewey described “an experience” as something that happens that is set off from the regular flow of time—something special, out of the norm, marked as different. During “an experience,” time may feel suspended (see also Csikszentmihalyi and the idea of “flow”). To become immersed in a work of art like this seems like the sort of thing Dewey was talking about.

Have you had “an experience” before? What were you doing when it happened? What was it about? Why was it important? How can we cultivate rich, memorable experiences for students?

A few years ago I took some TIME for myself—for my own professional development. I attended the Teaching Institute in Museum Education (TIME) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There I learned the value of looking closely at and thinking deeply about works of art. I learned the value of listening to others and letting shared and divergent understandings emerge. I practiced slowness, careful investigation, and open-mindedness. Every now and again we “TIME-ers”—other museum educators who’ve attended TIME—reconvene to cultivate “an experience” with a new work of art and remember why we thought it valuable in the first place. This year we met in Fort Worth, TX, as part of the National Art Education Association Conference. Each time we meet I walk away changed, inspired, and renewed. Something wonderful seems to happen to my mind when I allow myself the time and space to become utterly absorbed.

You don’t need to be a “TIME-er” or a museum educator, for that matter, to recharge your store of Dewey experiences. You don’t need to go to Fort Worth or Chicago, either. The NCMA is a place where this sort of magic—suspended time and deep engagement—is possible, be it with art, ideas, and/or the natural world. Did you know that? Do your colleagues know it? Lose yourself in an exhibition, our Park, the permanent collection, or a workshop (or webinar) experience. Let us be your place of refuge—a place to take time for yourself and recharge your teaching practice. We’re here all summer.

This is the third and final installment of Timecapsules, a micro-post series on the Big Picture concept of Time. Don’t miss our special exhibition exploring this theme through a variety of media, 0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art, open now through August 11.