Visual Art Sessions

The visual art component of the Academy explores art from the perspective of production, history, criticism, and aesthetics.  Instructors, whose work has influenced current educational practice and theory, come from around the country to provide stimulating and practical instruction. In addition to the visual art sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2017 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Elementary/Lower Middle School

Participants will attend each workshop listed below for two consecutive days and a summary workshop for both sessions on Friday morning.

Me for My Neighbor: Exploring Global Citizenship through Portraiture and Bookmaking

Instructor: Kat Morgan
In this workshop, participants will explore the theme of being a unique contributing member of a global community. Teachers will work with colored pencil, paint, and various methods of collage to create narrative self-portraits and handmade books that detail their place in the world and their role in its future. Special focus will be placed on storytelling and personal interpretations of what it means to be a neighbor. Participants in this workshop should expect combinations of illustrative and bold visuals, a committed work ethic, and a healthy dose of not-taking-yourself-too-seriously.


Upper Middle/Secondary Visual Art

Participants will attend each workshop listed below for two consecutive days and a summary workshop for both sessions on Friday morning.

Developing Impressive Designs for Slab Building in Clay

Instructor: Roger Smith
In this workshop, middle and high school teachers will “find” and develop personal designs, which they will then impress into clay for slab building. Symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns will be explored; and a series of pieces will be created that will fit into the curricula of ceramics classes of all levels—including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. Participants must plan to fire their pieces at home.

Designing with a Purpose: Developing the Visual Narrative

Instructor: Grant Whitsitt
This workshop will help high school art educators understand how to create meaningful story and rich character development specifically for visual narrative art forms. By applying three key principles of animation—solid drawing, staging, and appeal—to a sequential art format, participants will learn how to create striking story panels that can be applied to graphic novels, comic books, and animation, film, and television storyboards. Participants will also create cover art, which will teach them how to extract and illustrate a “visual synopsis” of a story. One of the main priorities of the workshop will be a focus on thoughtful, engaging concept development. Collaboration among participants will be crucial, since any story is only as strong as the impact it has on its audience. Participants will use non-photo blue pencils, and India ink (with quill pens) on Bristol board. At the end of the workshop, teachers will receive a digital outline PDF of the lessons, which will allow them to take what they learn to their own students.