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 2015 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Elementary/Lower Middle

Participants will attend each workshop for two consecutive days and a summary session for both workshops on Friday morning.

Creating Symmetry with Tessellations

Instructor: Jim McNeill

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to create translation, rotation, and glide-reflection tessellations using an index card template. A simple step-by-step process that can be easily modified and expanded to create seemingly complex symmetrical patterns will be shared. Strategies for transforming abstract patterns into recognizable figures and shapes will be discussed, as well as methods of transforming flat symmetrical patterns into dimensional images with positive and negative space. Participants will receive detailed guides showing them how to create each kind of tessellation demonstrated in the workshop.



Upper Middle/Secondary

Participants will attend each workshop for two consecutive days and a summary session for both workshops on Friday morning.

Making Sketchbooks Memorable

Instructor: Laurie Gatlin

It is a struggle to get your students to develop “the sketchbook habit?” In this workshop, participants will examine ways of encouraging their students to develop a sense of ownership of this valuable artistic process—beginning with binding a book, working in a variety of media, and learning new techniques and approaches that will speak to high school students. The first step in getting students sold on the process of keeping a sketchbook is to present it with enthusiasm; as such, one of the main goals of this workshop is to get you, the teacher, hooked on the process too!