West TN Art Teacher Forum

By Melody Weintraub 

Recently a group of West Tennessee art teachers decided to create a professional development day geared for Middle and High School Art Teachers interested in increasing the skills and engagement of their students. Melanie Trout Anderson, Carrol Harding McTyre, and Leanne Wilson of Arlington High School and Jenna Fergus of Briarcrest approached TAEA President Kathy Dumlao with the idea and what transpired in late January was the West Tennessee Art Teacher Forum hosted by Arlington High School and planned and presented by these dynamic award-winning art teachers. I attended this fun and meaningful event along with several TAEA members from our region. I have already been applying what I learned in my classroom! 

I have already been applying what I learned in my classroom! 

After a welcome by Jenna Fergus, we rotated to Leanne Wilson’s classroom for a monoprint workshop. As we enjoyed art making with collograph-type printing, we also enjoyed sharing ideas with one another. Leanne’s use of recycled and repurposed materials gave us all many practical take-aways. 

Next, we moved to Melanie Anderson’s classroom for a workshop in painting still-life on gessoed posterboard. Melanie’s experience as a working artist and classroom teacher inspired us all. 

Carrol McTyre lead the next workshop, sharing her Sketchbook “Starters and Finishers.” Carrol also shared slides of how her students had applied these sketchbook prompts. We were then given time to “play” in our own sketchbooks applying some of her awesome suggestions. 

Jenna Fergus wrapped up our time together by sharing how she develops her students’ writing and critique skills through her CRIT method. She also shared how her AP student’s writing advanced as a result of learning to Describe, Analyze, Interpret and Judge not only famous works of art, but their own work as well. 

We all left the event recharged, refreshed and ready to see this event repeated!