Pandemic Lessons: Challenges, Innovations and Re-Imaginings in Art Education

The current COVID 19 pandemic has necessitated a drastic reframing of how art education is approached and accessed.  Following the end of the first semester/ term of online learning, Gallery 400, in partnership with the BFA in Art Education program at UIC’s School of Art & Art History, hosted a series of presenter-led conversations to explore how art education has adapted to a virtual learning environment: the challenges, innovations, and ways forward.

There were three convenings:

June 18: ‘What Just Happened? explored the various ways in which artists/art educators have pivoted in response to the crisis.

July 9: ‘Picking up the Pieces: Context, Healing & Advocacy’ focused on how artists and art educators have responded to the struggles of those they teach and those to whom they are connected through direct forms of engagement with the crisis.

August 6: Where Can We Go from Here? Reimagining the Future focused on how artists and art educators are transforming a range of existing structures by developing new modes of teaching, learning, and creating together.

We see these conversations as a valuable way to collectively reflect on the experiences of the last few months, share knowledge and resources, highlight our connectivity and interdependence, and brainstorm new possibilities for going forward. Interactivity and discussion encouraged. We are currently in the process of planning future Pandemic Lessons, and if there are any topics you would like addressed, please email Li-Ming Hu, our Community Engagement and Public Programs Manager at liminghu@uic.edu.

What Just Happened?!

Thursday, June 18, 2020, from 4 – 5:30 pm 

What are the various ways in which artists/art educators have ‘pivoted’ in response to the crisis? What worked? What didn’t work? What were/are the ongoing challenges? This first conversation will focus on the adaptations and the creative solutions, challenges, and failures teachers experienced and developed.

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Picking up the Pieces: Context, Healing & Advocacy

Thursday, July 9, 2020, from 4 – 5:30 pm

The pandemic has wrought trauma of many kinds, on children, adults, elders, and families, and hit some communities harder than others. This session will focus on how artists and art educators have responded to the struggles of those they teach and those to whom they are connected through direct forms of engagement with the crisis. The panel will explore what historical precedents can tell us about advocacy and healing, whether individual or collective.

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Where can we go from here? Reimagining the future

Thursday, August 6, 2020 from 4 – 5:30 pm

The pandemic has made clear that there is no “normal” to go back to while also highlighting persistent inequalities in our communities and educational environments. How are we approaching the necessary work of re-imagining the future? This session will focus on how artists and art educators are transforming a range of existing structures by developing new modes of teaching, learning, and creating together.

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