More than 130 visual arts teachers came to the University of Chicago campus on Friday, Feb. 5 to immerse themselves in some of the CoCre8 program activities designed by arts education coordinators at UChicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative at the Arts Incubator, the Oriental Institute, Court Theatre, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. All from Chicago Public Schools across the city, the mix of K-12 teachers began the day at the Logan Center and then chose to visit one venue, where they would engage in the CoCre8 process themselves. The workshops were intended to assist the teachers in modeling CoCre8 in their own classrooms.
Activity at the Smart Museum began with “artful thinking,” a technique used in the CoCre8 program that asks participants to generate sets of questions in response to works of art. The teachers worked together in small groups, looking at paintings and sculptures in the galleries, looking again, sharing insights and formulating questions. The next step in this process was to develop proposals for large-scale collaborative artworks inspired by the ideas that came out of their thoughtful exercise. Over at the Logan Center a large group of teachers employed similar techniques, but with a twist. Instead of developing proposals for large-scale works, they assembled their own artworks using provided art supplies. They had previewed prints from the Smart Museum hung on Logan's walls, and artworks on display in Logan’s current “Unsuspending Disbelief” exhibition.
UChicago’s cultural partners offer nearly 40 arts programs across campus for children in grades K-12 as well as working directly with teachers and schools to share UChicago programming. Together the partners are working to establish a K-12 arts education initiative.