What’s in the works for SWart Studio?

I don’t have any art projects in the works because I’ve officially begun a graduate research study. I’m focusing on creative ways to present in mid 2021. I chose a topical subject that deserves more attention. These are slides of my proposal at a fall symposium. More soon!

UPDATE: I completed my study in late spring. I presented my findings at a closing symposium of the semester. Similar to last year’s, but more complex. The response of my presentation was incredibly positive and I’m proud to say I earned myself another A. It was a lot of work, but my findings will only benefit my own teaching.

To review my final slideshow click HERE.

Major 2020 Update

Where has time gone? It’s been months and I’ve failed to update my website’s blog in forever, but as you might imagine — there’s a lot going on. And that was BEFORE the shelter in place hit Boston (and the rest of the world). In as few words as possible, here’s what I’ve been doing —

  1. I found myself outside the art room and teaching fifth grade more often that not. If gave me the confidence to start teaching subjects beside the fine arts. I applied and was accepted as a graduate student for a Master of Education (Elementary). It’s been a lot of work and very different than getting a grad degree in my twenties. I am learning a lot.
  2. Because everything shut down (except for supermarkets, hospitals, and schools) my team and I are teaching from home. I’ve been trying to incorporate arts integrated projects to support lessons my colleagues are sharing. I’m positing (slightly tweaked) week’s worth of lessons here until I fully update this site.
  3. I had a fun project concerning a forgotten super hero from the 80’s, but it’s been postponed indefinitely now that most publishers have suspended all activity for the foreseeable future. Here’s a tease of a work in progress.

Announcing classes for the new year!

I’ve fallen behind on updates with the end of the semester and a recent vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico. But I’m pleased to announce several classes I’ll be offering in Boston for early 2014. I’m looking forward to starting off … Continue reading

More on my latest collaboration

The pièce de résistance of “Force for Good” ready to be attached.

For the last several months I’ve been working with ten teen artists (and their friends) to create an installation that speaks out against racism in conjunction with the Culture for Change program of Boston. The group and I are finally ready to present our nearly 24′ piece to the public tomorrow evening. What follows is our artists statement. For more on the process, please check out the YES for Change Tumblr page.

A Force For Good (Against Racism)

papier-mâché (head), clear tape & saran wrap (spine), wooden frames (body), sequined fabric (skin), mirrors, and other medium.

Being given the opportunity to create some sort of artwork that educates the cause and effect of racism is both exciting and a little daunting. The subject of racism is very broad, as were our choices of art to use to translate our message. Following the process of an artist, starting with an idea, continuing with research, practicing with trial and error team building projects, and finally execution, we arrived at what stands before you.

During the course of the year we researched a variety of issues and events related to racism and in particular our community of Chinatown. We also sought out to learn more about the broad medium of installation art, knowing we did not want to necessarily produce standard 2D artwork. We learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in the US. Our investigation of racism and installation art brought us all over Boston and beyond. Our group visited the Chinatown Library where we viewed an Atlas timeline of Chinatown. It was a way for us to learn and find our roots and to see how it was like for our grandparents and great grandparents to deal with the obstacles presented to them in a new country. We visited the ICA to view installation art and hopefully inspire us. We learned about Ai Wei Wei and how he used installation art to oppose the Chinese communist government. Another famous installation artist, Yayoi Kasuma, taught us that much of installation art is conceptual, meaning that the artist’s ideas or concept are more important that the actual beauty of the piece.

Our team combined ideas collected from months worth of projects and field trips and drafted a final form for our installation. What we present to the community is a Chinese inspired dragon, its spine built of interlocking lit hands, surrounding a plastic figure and several mirrors. The mirrors reflect our audiences’ faces and positive phrases allowing viewers to become a part of the piece. The encircled separated plastic figure amid the sea of reflections is used to show the effects of racism, something, at one point, everyone has encountered, making us feel isolated or less than a whole. The dragon represents our main message, coming together we become an unstoppable force against racism. We are equally proud of our final piece and of all the work our team has done. This installation is our reward to show everyone what we’ve learned about art, racism, our culture, and each other.

Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”

Be sure to hit “Like” on the website’s Facebook tab to check out the various music videos that are playing in my classroom or inspiring my work. I prefer to stay away from today’s Top 40 and a little jazz or classical mixed with play gems from the ’60s-’90s or current independent artists that students don’t regularly hear. I especially like artists from other countries, not played on American radio. I’m constantly posting songs on Facebook that create a week’s playlist, helping me to establish a fun and creative environment in the art room ( or “studio-classroom”, as I call it.)

Jagwar Ma is the latest band I’ve been turned onto. For more of their music, checkout their page on SoundCloud!

A great series of books for your kids!

There’s a great series of books I initially got for my third grade classes to have as reference material for a Greek mythology lesson I concocted when I first started teaching. Over the years the lesson has grown and evolved and so has the series! Olympians is by mastermind author and illustrator, George O’Connor, and highlights the Greek gods and the most popular myths they’re associated with, told in comic book form. Not only that, but each book ties continuity with past books, showing how the stories entwine with others. I would have loved to have read the books as a child, but I’m no less grateful that I have them as a tool for my classroom.

For more on the Olympian series and articles that it’s been mentioned, check out:

Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess – Robot 6

Let Children Read What They Want NY Times

Olympians – website

Announcing new classes!

Grade 2

I’ve very excited to announce a list of new after school classes I’ll be teaching at the New Art Center. Also has the Teen Program Coordinator for the NAC I’m planning on some fun art-related events. More info soon. The jammed packed creativity starts early 2013 and registration opens today!
Teen Graphic Novel and Manga Exploration

Explore the genre of the graphic novel with comic books and manga. Delve into the history of the medium and its influences on animation, anime, music, and film. Students will create their own graphic novel, focus on story structure and pencil and ink art. Sketchbook required.

Teen Drawing & Painting

Students will learn the fundamentals of drawing and acrylic painting in this energetic studio class. The class will cover composition, style, mark making, light and shading and other fundamental techniques. Additionally, class will look at contemporary practices of drawing and painting for inspiration and new ways of working.
Teen Advanced Open Studio

In this course students will be encouraged to pursue current interests and artistic skills that establish a solid foundation in the visual art practices. Choose you favorite media and work with professional artist and teacher, Steven Wilber, as you develop your artwork. Explore drawing, painting, sculpture, and other mixed media, that includes illustration, graphic novel, collage, and building techniques. Expect to make a final masterpiece by the end of the term!

Young Professional Artists Career Exploration, Gr. 6-9

Starting with the basics and moving beyond, learn the steps to become a professional artist. This class is for students seriously considering the art world in their future or just interested in improving their painting and drawing skills. Some 3D work may be involved as the course progresses. Expect positive group critiques every week.

Leadership Through the Arts, Gr. 7-9

Would you like to become a young leader in the art world? If you are interested in the visual arts, photography, music, dance, theater, and/or in organizing events, this is the perfect space for you. Led by art teacher and Teen Coordinator, Steven Wilber, participants will learn important leadership skills and tools like how to organize art-related activities, plan budget, raising money, and develop programs including field trips, parties, community art projects, teen night outs, art exhibits, and more.

Creative Sculptures, Gr. 3-5

Use handbuilding techniques to create both functional and sculptural objects! Students in this class will develop an understanding of the materials and processes involved in ceramic art-making.

Wheel Throwing & Handbuilding, Gr. 3-5

The New Art Center offers a well-equipped ceramics studio for children to have fun while learning methods and techniques of working with the potter’s wheel. These are among the most popular classes. Students learn how to create their own mugs, bowls, plates, and glazing techniques. While this course is strongly focused on wheel throwing, students have the option to enhance their work, by adding texture, special touches, or a sculptural detail to their creations by altering wheel thrown shapes with hand building techniques.