Monday, May 30, 2011

Art educators shouldn’t have to prove their worth

But if you go to the Marceil Pultorak Atrium Gallery atCarroll University in Waukesha before June 17 you can see that the MilwaukeeArea Teachers of Art (MATA) really do have what it takes.

Wisconsin has been shaken badly in recent months by seemingly endless draconian decrees emanating from the governor’s mansion and rubberstamped by the state legislature. Among the many disturbing decisions being made have been cuts to the Wisconsin Arts Board and to public education. For an excellent defense of Arts Board funding, check out Mary Louise Schumacher’s excellent essay in Art City.

Cuts to education are, if anything, worse. As an art educator myself, and as a member of MATA, I know firsthand what these cuts mean to the arts. Hundreds of teachers are leaving the profession. And the arts are always the first to go. I wish I could offer a view of some silver lining, but I can’t think of any. What I do suggest, as at least a consolation, is to go see the annual MATA membership show.

I didn’t get any pictures this time, but I can direct you to the blog of Jeanne Bjork, the current MATA president, where you can see lots of them.

This year’s exhibit is one of the best I’ve seen in my over 30 years of membership in MATA. It’s ironic, too, because it is an exhibit that almost didn’t happen. For many years this annual exhibit has been held in the lobby of the 100 East Wisconsin Building. This year, at the last minute, the corporate sponsors imposed new conditions that the MATA board found impossible to consent to. Financial considerations effectively sealed the fate, but, in a move sadly reminiscent of many culture war battles about art, they also wanted to control the content of the show.

Fortunately, Carroll University came to the rescue. I urge you to take the time to go out to Waukesha and see it. (It’s really not so far away!) The show ends June 17.

By the way, I’m sorry I didn’t have the time to write this up a week ago, as I wanted. It’s been a very hectic week, as the end of the school year always is. But this year especially: I went to graduation yesterday for the last time. My retirement from Marquette University High School has nothing to do with the politics I commented on above. And, fortunately, it doesn’t mean the loss of an art teacher. In fact, I am happy to be leaving an opening for a younger art teacher who can carry on in my place.

Glass Facade
OK, one more thing by way of full disclosure: I’m not only proud to be a long-time member of this fine organization, but honored that one of my pieces (right) was awarded Best of Show by the two jurors, Teri Wagner and Katie Musolff. But that’s not why you should see the show; it really is outstanding overall and twelve other artists also received significant awards.

Directions and gallery hours are on the Carroll Universitywebsite.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Eddee. Great comments! I am proud of the work we did together to pull this show off.