Art Navigator 2: What was done and why
Art Navigator 2, a development project for contemporary art education, was launched in the fall of 2012 and involved visual art schools across Finland. Student-centered pedagogy was at the heart of this development project. The shared theme was “Urban Art,” and the entire community – teachers, students and local residents – participated.
In recent years, both urban and community art have increasingly expanded, both in scope and in application. Our project has reacted to this moment. Student-centered pedagogy is considered important, yet the main question is how to apply more of such pedagogy in art education.
One of the project’s main goals was to find opportunities for teachers and students to work together. Teachers certainly have a great deal of experience with urban and community art, but how does one make use of this experience as part of a school’s program? In the Art Navigator project, teachers and students formed working groups in which they studied, discussed, created, and executed diverse urban art ventures. The teachers did not offer any ready-made concepts, and the students were engaged in the undertaking right from the beginning.
The creative process was documented throughout, and the related descriptions were written jointly by students and teachers at the end: What was done and why? What happened? Was the result successful? What might be done in future such projects? The project also contributed to developing activities in the schools themselves, which attained more awareness in their local areas.
The results can be seen on the project’s web pages. In several visual art schools around Finland the art festival of light, “Light wins over the darkness,” was held simultaneously on the 14th of November, 2013. In the fall of 2014, the project partners organize a traveling exhibition, and the magazine presenting the final projects is being published.
The aims for the project
- To develop methods of teaching contemporary art in cooperation with other art schools, present the possibilities for urban art and introduce methods of student-centered pedagogy;
- To document systematically the progress of the project;
- To convey that urban art is not blurred or indistinct; rather it is playful, experimental and interactive art that can be implemented by an entire community.
The aims for the teachers
- To reinforce the significance of play, joy and fearlessness in teaching. To promote interactive working among students, teachers, and the local community;
- To demonstrate that even a small work of art can be surprising and can stimulate local discussion;
- To be experimental in daily routines and highlight creativity.
The aims for the students
- To demonstrate that art has a positive impact and touches people;
- To show that works of art can be done with others.
An additional goal was to encourage urban art projects to spring up spontaneously in the future. Urban art offers an excellent opportunity to expand knowledge of art, to increase community participation in cultural life and to encourage our sense of social connectedness.
The Finnish National Board of Education supported Art Navigator 2 with 47,000 euros. The coordinator school was the Lohja Art School for Children and Young People.
Director, Lohja Art School for Children and Young People, Finland