Teaching Artfully

Clover. May 2021. 240p. ed. by ed. by Craig Yoe. pap. $24.99. ISBN 9781951038205.
From the first page of this inspired, comics-format guide to teaching and understanding art, Parker establishes herself as an open book. She begins with an invitation that acknowledges the generosity required of both author and reader and then, in one illustrated monologue after another, pokes at matters artful and pedagogical, applying her extensive inquiries to areas of her life and standards as an educator. Inventive demonstrations of abstract concepts and relationships between ideas, such as line, texture, and form, are appealing to the point of demanding poster-size pages for display in classrooms and studios. Parker describes more than a dozen approaches to art, discusses how she celebrates her and her students’ artistic creations, questions methods of teaching art, and offers ways to coax students to embrace the creative spirit. Considering modern online life, she opines, “I hope that I can play a part in a move from liking and following to loving and leading.” While her focus is on visual art, depictions of dance and music are included. Cursive text and a couple brightly colored layouts could present readability issues. Extensive quotations and visual interpretations of key ideas relay a deep variety of thoughtful influences. A fantastic section of notes in the back with sources for each page and a list of references ensure that readers will have many more routes to explore (not merely follow) on their own path to creative expression, fulfillment, and sharing.
VERDICT A manual and call to arms for creative perspectives; librarians should loan this one to every art teacher and budding artist in sight.

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