How to run a school art show

Prepping for School Art Show

Many of you might be in the process of planning your end-of-the-year school art show. Spring break will soon be upon us and instead of spending your vacation days back at school sorting and organizing student art work, get a head start by implementing these strategies…

Watch my video below on everything you need to prep for a school art show!

Supplies You’ll Need to Set Up:

– Individual student portfolios of art work

– Long-reach stapler

– Hot glue gun & glue sticks

– Hand held stapler

– Masking tape

– School glue

– Large sheets of colored sulphite paper

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Step #1: Set Up Portfolios

It would be impossible to select a child’s best pieces for the show without the use of portfolios. I’m the first one to admit that creating and maintaining a portfolio system requires a dedicated amount of time, but being organized is part of the job. Since I only have 15 sessions with each class, I don’t like to waste precious class time having the students create their portfolios, but if you see your students every week, then by all means, get them to do it.

On this note, if you do see a class every week, chances are you are accumulating a great deal of artwork. Start weeding out which pieces go home. Any free-choice or half-done pieces that you know won’t be worked on again–send home. Any large 3-D pieces that are not intended for the art show–send home. You get the idea.

I keep my class portfolios in standard filing cabinets. When I didn’t have cabinets, I used wooden shelf-style cubbies (the best!). When I didn’t have cabinets or cubbies, I used cardboard boxes and placed the boxes under tables along the perimeter of the room.

Step #2: Selecting Art Work

There are a few things I keep in mind when selecting art for the annual school art show:

– Every student needs to have one finished piece. Sounds easy but I have some students who miss many classes. If I look through their portfolio a few weeks before the art show and they have nothing completed, I will make sure his next piece is completed in class or I will give him a piece of unfinished art to take back to class to finish there. I don’t care what the child’s situation is or whether or not his parents will even come to the school art show. But that child WILL have something that represents him as an artist.

– Since I do a huge variety of projects, I make sure I have a good representation of all techniques and mediums. I want the parents to see how broad our little art program is and that I don’t do one lesson for every grade level. There is nothing as boring (or comparative) than seeing 100 painted penguins displayed. And since parents support half the art budget, I want them to be encouraged that their hard-earned money is being put to very good use.

– Many, many students produce amazing pieces. How do I chose which one is selected? I try and remember which piece resonated with that child. Usually, if they are proud of a piece, I remember. That’s the piece I will pick.

– I pick all pieces. Sounds a bit like I’m a control freak, huh? Well, I am. My first year teaching, I took an entire class period for each class so that the students could pick their own pieces. It was extremely time consuming and really hard for some kids. I abandoned that idea pretty quickly. Another year, I sent the 6th grade portfolios back to their homeroom classes so that the students could look through their portfolios and select their favorites. Some selections came back as the unfinished ones or all the same ones. There just wasn’t the variety I had hoped for. Some of the selection process was peer pressure as well. Some kids chose their worst piece (or funniest piece in their eyes). So let’s just say I placed my control-freak hat back on again the next year.

Step #3: Displaying Art

I have used the same system for over 10 years of art shows. This is what I do:

I select the class art work and send it back to the classroom teacher.

The classroom teacher has labels (printed by the office manager), a set of basic mounting instructions and a stack of artwork. They mount the artwork onto construction paper with regular school glue. Most of the time an aid or a room mom mounts the art.

The mounted art work gets sent back to the art room.

Volunteers take each class folder filled with art and takes them to the multi-purpose room. Once there, the volunteers cut lengths of colored rolled art paper. To make measuring easy, we place masking tape on the floor at pre-measured distances. So if we need 12 sheets of 96″ papers, we place two strips of masking tape on the floor at a distance of 96″. Then, just place the roll of paper on the floor, push until the roll reaches the masking tape marker and cut. Stack papers on top of one another until its time to use.

Using a Long Reach Stapler, artwork is mounted by class onto the colored lengths of paper. We don’t start at the very tip top as we want the artwork to be low enough to view. Sometimes its necessary to use masking tape for pieces that extend too far into the middle of the panel.

When a paper panel has all artwork attached, we stack the panels on the floor until we are ready to mount the panels on either the walls or moving display panels.

The hanging of the pre-mounted and very heavy artwork is actually pretty quick. Using a ladder, one gal hands the heavy, art-ladden paper up to the gal on the ladder. She staples the paper to the wall. To make the top of the paper durable, the paper is folded. This is all that needs to be done. The staples hold and the artwork hangs well.

When it comes time to dismantle the art show, the paper panels are pulled down (they let go easily) and each panel goes to the classroom teacher. 6th grade students do well at this task. They carry the panels back to the teachers, who un-staple the artwork and send it home with the artists.

Good luck to everyone who is planning an art show. Be proud of your work and celebrate with the children!

How to Organize an Art Show

Art shows are a sure sign that school is nearing the end of the year and the visual representation of your students hard work is about to be realized.

Whether you are a one-person organizer or have a team of volunteers, here are a few systems that helped me make my art shows manageable.

Asking for help…

I’ve been so very fortunate to have a slew of involved parents at many of the schools I have worked at. This is especially helpful during the art show season. There is not school that has a surplus of anything, especially available parents, but most schools can drum up volunteers if given the chance.

I come from a PTA background. I’m proud to say that I was a PTA President and a board members for years at my children’s school. Did I have surplus time on my hands? Yes. But there were many other dedicated parents who had very busy professional and home lives that found time to volunteer. Did we always have enough volunteers for back-to-school bar-b-que’s, school auctions and jog-a-thons?

Not really, but we always squeaked by.

The point is, is that even with one helper, you can do it!

Asking for help as an art teacher running an art show

The secret to asking for help is building up the reputation of the program that needs support.

If the art show at your school has always been organized and managed by the art teacher, then finding volunteers to help that first year is going to be challenging (but not impossible).

Try asking a parent with whom you have a strong rapport. Ask for a small amount of help and be super organized with their time. Their experience might be a positive one, and they will then ask someone else for help. Soon, you’ll have a reputation that you can build on.

On the same note, if you are fortunate to have one person donate their time for a few hours, stick to their agenda. In other words, don’t abuse the volunteer.

Give very specific volunteer instructions

I have a handout that I give to the classroom teachers on the suggested way to mount artwork. I like to stage a day when volunteers can come and go as they need to.

I reserve the multi-purpose room for the day. This is not always easy, so check with the office manager for help in reserving time to mount artwork. Sometimes you need to be flexible. If everything is set out and easy to understand, volunteers can pop in for an hour to contribute.

Organize your own art show for your students with the help of parents

Organizing supplies and basic set-up directions

I measure the length of my papers and prepare an easy way to cut lengths of the paper in bulk.

TIME SAVING TIP: Place a piece of masking tape on the floor, measure the length of the paper and place another piece of masking tape at that measurement. Now all the volunteers have to do is roll the paper from one tape to the other and cut. No need to get out the measuring tape every time.

No Volunteers? Try Community Service

Does your school have community service hours for sixth graders? If so, utilize it! Sixth graders are extremely capable and can staple artwork and cut paper. Perhaps they can do it on their lunch break.

Tearing down and removing artwork is the ideal job for sixth graders. They can pull the panels off the walls, then remove stapled artwork from the paper with a stapler remover and deliver to the classrooms. If anything, have students help with dismantling.

Community service to set up your art show

As for the display panels? The multipurpose room added to the campus had no ceiling wires in which to hand student art. Now, we just have three walls and we’ve created cool looking displays on wheels.

Display panels for art show set up

These were pretty easy to make.

Each panel requires two 36″ x 80″ hollow, no-hole, pocket doors. Buy the primed ones so you don’t have to paint them. You can find them at your local Home Depot (around $40).

We used two metal hinges to allow for folding and four casters on the bottom of the panels so we could roll the panels around. The hinges allow for the panels to be folded and stored against a wall. Then we added a small chain at an angle (you decide) so that the panels would open up and fall.

We made 3 panels the first year and it cost me less than $200. Parents in subsequent years have made 3 more.

The panels are great for small display areas as they hold a lot of art and are great for set design in stage performances.

For the art display, I staple/tape art to a long sheet of paper (36″ wide) and attach the paper panels with two masking tape strips on the top. Surprising enough, this is all it takes!

How to organize and set up your student art show

Organizing an art show takes an extraordinary amount of work but with a little organization, a plan and a few helpers, you’ll be well on your way to creating an experience your students won’t soon forget.

I’d love to hear what went well and what didn’t in the comments below…

And of course, make sure to tag @deepspacesparkle with your art show pics on Instagram!

What do you think?

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  • Leah

    I always chose my student’s artwork too! For the same reasons- I could get variety, and pick that student’s best work. If I had a student who had many good pieces, I would choose the piece that I had the least of from other students. I also had one piece from every student. In order to collect all that work I started at the beginning of the year and picked the nicest pieces from each project, without repeating artists. In order to make sure everyone had a piece, my awesome school secretary printed out labels for me with each child’s name and grade. Then I just labeled the work as it was finished. Whoever still had a label on the sheet still needed a piece of work in the show. You do have to make sure you catch new students that move in after the labels are printed though, so you don’t forget to include them. You are lucky to have so many volunteers. I usually mounted all the art myself and the display was usually just myself and the music teacher!

  • Nancy

    Wow, It would be nice to have volunteers. I work in an inner-city school and we do not have that luxury. I trim, mount and hand label all of the artwork at my main school (460 students.) I start saving it from the beginning of the year. I have just finished collecting the artwork. I trim, mount and label as I go, sorting into large class folders. I glue the pieces to the bulletin board paper and hang it on the tack strips/bulletin boards all along the halls. Not sure if I will do the show next year as my main school that I do the art show at (I teach in 3 schools) has become very transient and I will be be adding artwork daily to class folders for new students and pulling artwork as students move. It becomes exhausting tracking the students moves!

  • Jenifer

    I’m still having a hard time trying to figure out how to pick pieces for kids. How many pieces do you pick for each student? Do you pick just one piece or more? You pick different pieces within a class so everyone has something different?

  • jenn

    Wow, apparently i have been doing everything wrong! I chose 6-7 pieces of art for each students and mount and hand tag each myself. I also hang the entire show my self. It take me about a month. Does anyone else do a big art show? I do around 2500 pieces of work…..

    • Laura

      I do a overall thematic unit for the entire school – Every student has 4-5 pieces of artwork (12 x 18 or 18 x 24 inch projects) mounted and displayed. I have nearly 600 students. I mount every project and hang everything myself. I absolutely love and enjoy hanging artwork. It is such a pleasure to see finish projects go up on the walls.

      I do not have many repetitious projects each class has a different projects displayed but all the projects from that class are displayed.( Hope that makes sense?) It is a vast undertaking and I start in Feb., hang every day until the Art Show on March 29.

      It is a HUGE show but March is Youth Art Month why not promote art in a BIG way! 🙂 Promote the arts because with out the PR the fine arts are being pushed aside. Happy Displaying!

      • Patty

        Oh, how I would love to be your helper! I love how you create your wonderful displays. You MUST do a post for me explaining the process!

    • ashley

      I have 430 students and I chose 3 pieces per students and I take a photograph of each student to go with their artwork (so i am hanging 1600 pieces). I mount, label and hang everything myself. The show is in May and I hang everything in the hallways. Three pieces seems to be plenty and parents and students enjoy the evening.

      • Patty

        It seems as though you are not alone in being a one-woman show! For my first year of art, I selected two pieces per child, but I simply didn’t have enough space in our MPR to display everything. If you have the space and ability, I think it’s wonderful to display so many pieces per student.

    • Kris Bien

      We had our 5TH Annual Art Night Event this year. Usually we have about 3-5 projects per class. We have 13 classes. 300 students. We have a team of about 35 volunteer art docents who teach art history with our district handbook for art lessons with projects monthly. Art Night is a great family event. This year we mixed it up and put all art in our gym. I highly recommend this. I recruited art docents to “display” and label their own art. We had 5 days to pin art. I couldn’t use staple hammers. It punched big holes in art and wouldn’t stick to our flats. We use 30 flats, like a cubical wall, double sided. I drew a map of the gym, deciding ahead of time where each class’s art would go. When volunteers came in, they went to their flat and we use straight pins. We have the flats from our school district, reserved in August, for March event. We also form a committee of art docent volunteers or parents about 2 months before event. It’s about 6-8 people. One person is in charge of signing up volunteers through school newsletter, teacher emails, room parents. This year we used Eventbrite.com to sign up and track volunteers. I made a notebook with examples of written publicity, local paper write ups, web site blurbs and have documents for each part of the night. We all pull together to do a fundraising bake sale for art supplies, we display PTA Reflection entries, we have teachers who read stories on art to the kids, and a variety of other activities for the 1.5 hour event. This year we even had music performances. I think the exchange of experience with these events is invaluable. I learned a lot this year. Recruiting volunteers is one of the biggest efforts. I started having signups at Open House in Sept., our art docent orientation, curriculum nights, PTA meetings, every opportunity I could think of. So many ways to do these things.

  • phyl

    Wow. You actually have classroom teachers who mount/label/etc?!! I select, mount, and label everything myself. No volunteers. The show goes up one day, take the whole day to set up, and then only stays up for one day, as the show is in the gym and the gym teachers need the gym back for classes. Lots of work for just one day, but great PR.

    • Patty

      I’m curious…would you like volunteers or is the art show something you prefer to handle alone? I totally understand the go-it-alone as it really is a wonderful feeling curating the student’s art into a spectacular show. But I am wondering if people need ideas to help generate volunteers. Just a thought.

  • vivian vegter

    I loved to read this post! It interests me a lot to read how you organise it. Although an experienced teacher, I am only in my second year of exhibitions, and at my school I found it a huge undertaking te first year. We are an international school and the annual exhibition is both exam, secondary and primary work. We do lot’s of large pieces/group work with our students that are worked on collaberatively during classes the 2 months before the exhibition. This is great fun and challenging for the students. From an organisational point of view, it is a challenge! I remember classes of 29 but not enough space for them to work all on the big pieces. Then splittig the group in two and prepare an as fun and exiting activity for the other half…I really felt like a juggler! Now the corridors and halls of our school show all the effort and are full of the wunderful art works of the preceding years.
    What I am wondering is, I’ve done some succesful new projects this year that are going to be displayed in the exhibition. I would like to do these projects again next year, both because they were succesful and cover what I want to teach my students and because I have grade 1-6 and two art clubs, so it will save me lots of time. But how do you keep the exhibition interesting if you were going to show the parents, students, colleagues the same projects (of course made by other students) the next year? And most parents do have more than one kid in the school too. My colleagues in my art departement assure me I should come up with new projects every year. Of course it IS much more adventurous but it seems to me adding a lot to the workload…I would appreciate it if one of you would like to share thoughts on that….

    • Patty

      While I agree that new lessons and new exhibits are exciting, it sometimes feels as though you are re-inventing the wheel. I have two solutions: Repeat successful projects every second year or do the same project in terms of technique and supplies but alter the subject matter. I do this all the time. Most lessons are interesting because you used a special technique. So just alter the subject and you have a brand new project!

  • Kristina

    How long do you keep your artworks up for the art show? What do you do to get parents out to see the artworks? I usually combine our art show with the spring chorus performance, but this year our music teacher did an early musical (already done) and I don’t feel that any parents will come out JUST to see the artwork.

    Also, how do you go about gaining volunteers?

    • Patty

      Hi Kristina,
      This year the date of my art show has moved. For the past four years the art show has been held in conjunction with the Spring Sing music recital and other end-of-the-year events. This year however, we are holding the art show during parent Open House Night. Every parent and their children attend so the art show will have many visitors. Since art is part of the children’s curriculum, I think it’s vital that the parents see it that way as well.
      In the past, the art has stayed up for about 24 hours!!! But since I have a different layout this year, I can keep it up longer. Maybe a week if I can get away with it!!
      As for volunteers, I have some great suggestions and since other people have asked as well, I intend to write a post about volunteers. Check back later today!
      Thanks for your question!

      • mrs g

        Why does your art show only stay up 24 hours? All that work and you take it down so quickly? Where do you have your show, in the cafeteria, gym,hallways? I guess I’m really fortunate because I can keep mine up for a month.

        • Patty

          My school has a Multi-purpose room. Many schools in Southern California don’t have interior hallways or gymnasiums (Kids do PE outdoors year round). Therefore, extra buildings, such as MPR’s, are often built to house PE classes, performances, etc. This is where we hold our art show. If I use just the walls, then the art can stay up for a while, but the room is too small for that. I use the floorspace as well as the stage and because of that, the art needs to be dismantled to allow for the school community to use the MPR.
          Does that help?

          • mrs g

            Yes, thanks for the reply. Just seems such a shame for the kids and you that the art can’t stay up longer. Do most school art show only stay up a few days? Gosh a feel really fortunate how long ours gets to stay up. The grass is not always greener is it?

            • Patty

              I think of our art show as a presentation…like a performance. We work hard to get it set-up, but the entire school shows up and attends the show. We do have places in our school where we do art displays so that people can view art year round. I don’t think a one-time art show is that uncommon.

  • MadelineBavli

    What is the program for your art show?
    Thanks so much.
    PS- I love your blog and check it out almost every day!

    • Patty

      hi Madeline,
      Sometimes if I have alot of time, I will make a program explaining what the grade levels have studied, but it’s rare. haven’t done one in a couple of years. Do you have a program for your show?

      • MadelineBavli

        I was thinking more of the sequence of events at the show. I’m planning our school’s art show at the public library. The show is opening May 1. I ‘m planning on having the principal welcome everyone and then I’ll give a little talk on why art is so important. Then I will invite everyone to enjoy the art. Is there anything else that I should be doing? (This is my first real show)
        Thanks for your help.

        • Patty

          Oh, I get your question now. I’ve never had a program. Just roam around and appreciate.

  • Sally

    Do you think the show should be judged for grades 3-6? I think it might create a little excitement about the show, but it might be a bad idea since its so subjective…

    • Patty

      Every year our school district asks each school to participate in a district wide art show. Each school can select 25 pieces for display. I’ve used the school art show as a way to showcase the selected pieces. Actually, this will be the first year that I will do this showcasing at my current school, but I always did it at my other schools. People do get excited over this and why not; it’s okay to reward art as we do math, reading and sports.

      • Sally

        Thanks for replying Patty! I appreciate it very much! SM

  • Heidi

    Hi Patty,

    At one of my schools we have a big art show in April. We make portfolios and organize them during a class peroid in early March. I ask the students to put their favorite piece in the front of the portfolio. I try to use that piece. However, I let them know I might pick something else. That way I can maintain the quality and cohesion of the display.

    I love your lable idea. I will have to implement it next year.

  • Lisa

    I have been doing art shows for 27 years. No one knows the amount of work it takes…I prep work through out the year, every time we complete a project I mount, tag, and set aside for the art show. I have artwork all over my house waiting to be mounted and taged. I try to mount onto 5-6 foot sheets of roll paper (fold the top over,glue, and insert a dowel stick) I then droop the sheets over something, Until May. . About two weeks ahead I begin hanging, I even get the school security code so I can work weekends. I hang from the drop ceilings with paperclips around the dowel, and into the ceiling Tee bar. You can also fan fold the sheets to separate the projects. I often decorate the background roll paper to make it more interesting. This is too much but that’s what I’ve done. I often create areas that exhibit the areas in a special way: Circus tent for the clowns. Black lights with strobes for the Haring pieces..etc… I have 2 schools to do this for, some years I’ve had three. I’ve often worked right through mothers day, and my children have slept in my classroom with McDonald’s and blankets. They’re now adults and show no wear from those late nites. I though have a lot of wear…and I show it…PS I also hang work through out the year…I do not think it should sit in a portfolio waiting for the 24 hour SHOW…Sometimes I hang a group of pics. and a title page SNEAK PEEK… and the title…I only hang a few, but this way the kids know they will be hung. I usually write the titles on sunglasses, or giant eyes. have fun, stress out, and enjoy…just think you could have to prove yourselves through pssa scores. ugh!!!

  • Jill

    I just had my first art show for 500 kindergatners and first graders and it was a HUGE success! A tip I would give for those trying to figure out how to display all those great pcs.of art yet you don’t have access to art panels… Try contacting a local factory that builds and ships items in your area, they often have HUGE flat sheets of cardboard! I was able to get about 24 sheets of cardboard (each the size of a classroom door) from the factory for free and then covered each board with butcher paper, it looked great. I then just ductaped three panels together and formed a trapazoid… No one even knew it was cardboard.

  • Mandy

    I am working on my art fair right now. This is my 9th year in Kansas City (Olathe). This year I moved to a new school and went from having 300 to 660 students. In the past I have gone about it solo, but I think next year I will change things. Maybe parent volunteers. It is a big task and I am overwhelmed with so many students. I typically display 1-3 pieces. Each student has a 2D and a 3D. I find many viewers enjoy seeing the 3D. I like showing parents how our curriculum is more than just painting, coloring, and drawing. My 3D pieces involve building from wire or paper. I let students choose their favorite 2D pieces and then I select 1-2 to go on display. It is a great deal of work and it is nice to have other art teachers to relate to.

  • Sally

    Hi Patty

    I can’t tell you how helpful your website has been to me. I have not had an art show yet but that is my goal for next year. I worked for 17 years as a Special Education teacher and was finally able to teach art starting Feb. of last year. I have a B.A. in Fine Arts and used those skills in teaching my SPED kids all the time. Now, I LOVE teaching art! I currently teach 1500 (no, that’s not a typo.) students and alternate between two elementary schools. This creates quite a challege with simple logistics, for sure! Hoping next year to be at one school which would put me at approximately 700 student, K-4. I love all the helpful hints that you give with just simple oragnizational tasks….has saved me many times! Thanks you for all you do!

  • Susan

    Do you have your students put their own art work in portfolios when it’s dry or do you do it yourself afterwards? I have been doing protfolios for years but we organize them on a 1/2 year basis. You sound like yours are up-to-date weekly.
    I would like to manage the organization better.

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Susan,
      I’ve had years when students helped put art in portfolios but mostly I do it 2 times a year in rotations. After my first rotation ends, I sort the portfolios (this usually collides with the art show) and then I do it again at the ned of the year. I am not up to date and although it seems like a great thing to have the portfolios sorted weekly, I don’t deem it necessary as the portfolios are merely a tool for selecting art.

  • Marisa

    Hey Patty! As a first year art teacher, I must say, your site is AMAZING! Thank you for sharing such amazing ideas. I’ve never done an art show, and my school has never had one either. (so sad!) I LOVE the panels on wheels. I spoke to the music teacher about using our grant money for making some since we both could use them, and we were wondering how you went about making these and how many you made? How expensive was it?

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Marisa,
      So many people have asked me. I wrote it down somewhere. I’ll try to find the instructions and re-edit the post. Stay tuned..

  • cataylor@jisd.org

    I feel bad now. And I will do things differently next year, possibly. I do an art show piece. I see 6 classes of each grade and am only picking one piece for each student. example 3 kindergarten classes do one piece (like clay) and 3 kinder classes are doing a painting. Because I only see them every 8 days I have to work on fundamentals over and over and then put all we learned in this one piece. Yall are amazing doing 1600 to 6000 pieces. But hey I am learning thank you for your blog! Cara

  • Lisa G

    A few questions for anybody out there

    How do any of you include sculptures in a show? Where do you store them? Any ideas for creative displays?

    Also, do any of you require student attendance?

    Does any one use creative technology or apps in their art shows?

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Lisa,
      Sculptures: Tables are great and even boxes on tables. One show I did I created displays for ceramic sea turtles with a painted ocean and sand. You can hang mobiles.
      Student Attendance: I wouldn’t for elementary. Make sure you understand your intention for the show. Is it to bring awareness to your program? To celebrate the student’s efforts? Once you know this, everything seems to fall in place.
      Technology: I had a slideshow one year. One art teacher uses codes and smart phones to link directly back to a blog post or video. Cool!
      Hope this helps!

  • cole273@yahoo.com

    Hi Patty,
    I’m a new teacher starting to think about my first Art Show, and I like the sound of your process – especially the enlisting-lots-of-help part! 🙂 Just a couple questions…
    1) When it comes to someone other than you mounting the individual pieces of art onto construction paper, how do you handle the different sizes? Are the teachers instructed to cut the border down to a certain width? Also, how far in advance of the show do you give them this task?
    2) In regard to keeping the portfolios, do you ever have parents or students upset about work not coming home on a regular basis or do you let parents know at the beginning of the year that you’ll be keeping most of it? I’m finding that students (especially the littles) are always asking to take artwork home right away, and I’ve had parents remark they haven’t seen any of their child’s work (which I took to be negative) or ask to go ahead and take something home because they want to hang it up or even frame it (definitely a positive!). I’m torn on how to handle the keep/send home issue…

    p.s. Thank you for all you share, and most especially for your bright and positive perspectives!!

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi! Thanks for the questions.
      1. I give the volunteers a guide for mounting. Pretty simple….just 1″ around the borders, except the bottom where it needs to be 1.5″
      2. Yes and no. I tell the parents at the beginning of the year about the program. Send out a letter explaining your program and why you keep the art. I actually didn’t do that this year and I’ve had a few parents wonder. Not mad, just wondering, so don’t take it as negative.
      Only send home pieces that you can’t store or don’t plan to exhibit (form based, ceramics)
      Hope this helps.

      • Sidney

        Agree with point #2. The kinders are the ones who seem to want to get their work back. But when they see their pieces displayed, they get it.

  • Lesley Glenn

    Hi Patty. I have been meaning to leave you this comment for a few months now. ;D I wanted to let you know how much your guide to putting on an art show helped me. I used the guide as a launching point then took off and expanded on ideas. I wrote a program called SPLAT or Students Pursuing Literacy Through Art Together for the inner city schools in Long Beach CA. Our first art show was so successful that we made the local paper. here is the link: http://www.presstelegram.com/social-affairs/20141201/long-beach-students-make-exhibit-of-2300-paper-cranes This is just a small sample of the art show. We also showcased Rorsasch blots, Mondrian, Kandinsky and Seurat.

    I am currently putting together my second show to be held this Thursday the 2nd. The kids and I focused on Andy Warhol, Matisse and Ancient Egypt. It won’t be as large as the last one, but it is sure to be fun. Thank you for always inspiring.

  • Cait

    Hi Patty!

    I am currently putting together my collection for the school wide art show. In terms of mounting on construction paper… what do you recommend is the best adhesive? Do you staple, white glue, spray glue??

    • Patty Palmer

      I like to use white glue to attach artwork to construction paper then staple to long sheets of paper for hanging.

  • Carlee Kannenberg

    This is such a great idea! With the doors/panels, where do you find room to store all of them?

  • Kathleen

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s good to see how it is done in other schools! I have 600 kiddos K-2. We have giant cardboard display boards that we use. I cover each with colored paper. I do not matte the artwork but place it on the colored background. This year I am hand writing the name tags with Sharpie. Anyways, my question for you is do you include project descriptions? Is this possible with students picking different projects. I’m not sure there is room? Is this too much? Also, I was thinking about posting questions for parents to interact with their child about the artwork. Questions that allow the child to reflect, and maybe even assess their artwork during the art show. I’m not sure how I would display these or place these. Just thought I would pick your brain! Thanks for all you do! You are amazing!!!

  • Mandy

    I love these ideas. Do you happen to have any ideas of how to use the Art Shows for money raising by selling the student’s artwork? We are always trying to find ways to build our Art Department.

    • Jaime Pendergrass

      My art club students buy those mini canvases on the little easels and paint little inspirations on them and then we sell them at the art show. It has always been a HUGE fundraising success. They also do a school color inspired art piece on a reclaimed (yard sale) canvas as a silent auction piece and I always donate one of my own pieces fro the silent auction.

  • sbane

    I need help. Today I found the Art Show Guidebook and downloaded it to my desktop to print it, but I lost my internet connection before I could save it. When I printed it, it has gibberish on the examples and forms to use. I don’t think I downloaded it correctly. Now I can’t pull it back up to reprint it. I didn’t have to pay for it this morning, but now the site is trying to make me pay for it.

    • Patty

      Hi Shane,
      The Art Show Guidebook is a paid product but if you are a Sparkler in our paint membership site, The Sparklers Club, it’s available to you without charge. It’s best if you contact support@deepspacesparkle.com. They can help you with your account. Thanks!

  • monica sina

    My fellow teachers would never help label and mount the students art work. I have 2 months until my first art show and I am still trying to make sure I have one piece for each student. Not easy for sure. We have a very transit school students come and go daily

  • Jaime Pendergrass

    Wow, it would be amazing to have volunteers and all the years that I worked in K-12 NONE of the elementary teachers were willing to do any mounting or anything like that in their classrooms. It was always me by my little old self. Then I chose the artwork and I started about 3 weeks before the art show and mounted them all by myself. Very time consuming. Occasionally over the years I had a friend that volunteered. Now that I teach 6-8 only (moved to a bigger school) at the winter break their exit ticket is to choose two art pieces out of their portfolio, and I show each class how to mount and tag their own. Saves loads of time. If they don’t get it on straight usually the glue is still wet enough to adjust it. We then do it again the week before the art show. I require one piece for each quarter they are in art. I’ve got 10 years of successful art shows down to an art in it’s self.

  • Debbie Reeves

    How did you build the rolling display board? Will you share how you built it?

    We need one to display our children’s church curriculum, memory verses, finished child crafts, parent communication, etc. It has to roll for storage.

    • Bethany

      Hi Debbie! This is Bethany from Team Sparkle. Unfortunately, the rolling displays were built so long ago that we don’t have any information on how to do that anymore. You should be able to google it and find something that will work for you. Best of luck!

  • Hillary McGrath

    This was amazing, will take a lot of inspiration from it. Will definitely take the idea to do in my school.

  • Peg

    Awesome! Thank you for this!

  • Cheryl Jensen

    Great Ideas! Thanks for sharing!!

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