What’s going on in Mrs. Liz Jones Art Room at Alabama School for the Blind?
You just never know when you stop in the Art Room what the students will be doing…
My number one goal as the Art Teacher at ASB is to encourage the students who have all ranges of vision, to try new things and feel comfortable to experiment with the ideas they conceive, and try to make those ideas into art in whatever form that becomes. The smaller class size at ASB makes it possible to try out many mediums such as water color painting, acrylic painting, drawing, sculpting, and printmaking.
I have been asked by many sighted people how does a Visually Impaired student appreciate art or create art with a lack of vision? I am a sighted person who teaches art and I have always relied almost at times exclusively on my sight. So, years ago, I began my journey with our students here at ASB, I began to try and learn and answer that question for myself.
I’m still learning what art means to the students here at ASB, but I can tell you that they really love art. All I ask of the students is if they will keep an open mind and try some new things. I also enjoy introducing items that might not ordinarily have been used for an art project such as scrap wood leftovers, marbles, sand etc. This introduces some “think outside the box discussions, and also provides an even wider variety of mediums with which to make art from.
My second goal is to encourage our students in any way possible. I am proud of them and by learning to produce artwork this opportunity gives them pride in their work, abilities and themselves. At ASB students have an Art Experience for 9 weeks every year.
My third top goal is to is to offer each student a chance to make their own art work that can compete in an art show if they choose to do so.
There are three Art Shows that we participate in each year that gives students this opportunity. Each student will be assisted minimally and helped to create their concept of what their artwork will be, and then take the necessary steps to bring their idea to fruition. This is a very valuable exercise for our students’ critical thinking skills. In addition to this opportunity to compete in the various contest, our art students here at ASB have won many prizes and been honored for their work all over the State of Alabama. From this program we have had two students win and a third student and her family received a special award from the Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama where our students and their families received paid VI Trip to the Helen Keller Festival.
It is a wonderful weekend for the students and their families. They participate in being the Parade Marshall, and receiving a Private Tour of Helen Keller’s Birth Home, and a fun weekend of many activities. Our amazing students have so many awards and cash prizes that I have lost count.
Fourth and finally, I would like to say what an honor and a privilege it is to teach the students here at ASB. I am so happy to have been given this opportunity. My hope is to continue to grow along with my students, have some fun while we are learning together. As a result, we can encourage each other to never stop learning, and to become life-long learners together.