The 2017 Judy Chicago Art Education Award was recently presented to Leah Krueger, Jessica Provow, and Anne Baker from Virginia Beach Middle School for their exemplary nine-week classroom implementation with their eighth-grade students of Creating Tribute: The Judy Chicago Project.
Anne Wolcott, supervisor of the art department at Virginia Beach Middle School, was excited when she received news of the Judy Chicago Art Education Award competition. Having attended one of Judy Chicago’s Summer Institutes herself, and being an alumna of the Penn State School of Visual Arts Art Education program, Wolcott said she knew this was a worthy project, and shared the opportunity with teachers that she supervised, encouraging them to participate.
“I was excited to learn that Leah, Anne, and Jessica chose to participate,” said Wolcott. “It’s a great honor that they were selected for the award, and having the Penn State connection makes it even more special.”
“It’s very humbling to have this project selected for such a prestigious award,” said Krueger. “I am so lucky to have fellow art teachers in the program to collaborate with on creating dynamic, engaging, and fun projects for our students. This is my favorite project we’ve done this year, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with others.
Inspired by Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party,” the teachers presented their students with the challenge of identifying people that have “changed the world for the better.” In response to the first student-generated list, the teachers facilitated discussions with the students, asking why there was a predominance of White men on their list and so few women and people of color represented.
The discussion motivated students to research fields of study that they are interested in with a quest to learn about the women who have advanced knowledge and contributed significantly to society with their work. From their research, the students created sculptural dinner place settings with each work of art symbolic of a woman and the context of her life.
“This project opened my eyes to the hardships women have had to overcome in our history, having to fight for rights that my generation now takes for granted,” said Amelia Fullwood. “My inspiration for this project was Amelia Earhart. She overcame having people telling her she couldn’t do what men could do simply because she was a woman. She proved them wrong when she took to the skies.”
“This project was incredibly illuminating in seeing so many wonderful women being glorified for their contributions to our society,” said Roxy Clark, another participant. “It was great to see the variety of races, nationalities, ages, and accomplishments represented in these place settings.”
The students presented their art to each other and discussed the symbolism and the importance to honor through art the people who have made the world a better place.
NASA scientist Kate Rubins, actress Lupita Nyong’o, Olympic gold medalist Misty May Treanor, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, Queen Elizabeth II, and artist Sandy Skoglund are some of the women honored by the students through their art creations.
The art as dinner place settings is currently on display in the main hallway at Virginia Beach Middle School and select works will be displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.
The Judy Chicago Art Education Award honors Judy Chicago and her pioneering work as an art educator. Penn State’s Judy Chicago Art Education Collection online archive of award-winning curricula offers teachers ways to engage the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection with their students. This might include using The Dinner Party Curriculum Project, or applying Judy Chicago’s content-based participatory art pedagogy, or developing themes from the artworks created in Chicago’s 11 teaching projects from 1970 – 2005. The annual award includes a certificate and a $1,000 prize. For complete details about the award, visit http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/news-events/news/award/.
The presentation of the award took place as part of the third annual Art+Feminism wiki-Edit-a-Thon held in March. The award presentation can be viewed online at https://meeting.psu.edu/jcae_award.
The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection was used at the Edit-a-Thon event.