The Eighth Grade Showcase started in 2015. The primary purpose of the Eighth Grade Showcase is to develop and support young artists in their chosen art form. Students learn what it is like to produce, display, and sell their artwork. Students also solidify their self-perception as an artist.
The secondary purpose of the Eighth Grade Showcase is to generate funds to support integration of the arts in social studies, science, math, and language arts. This is achieved through the sale of Showcase artworks to community members.
The proceeds from the sale of this art go back to support integration of the arts into science, social studies, math, and language arts curriculums. Some funds will be allocated to supporting future Showcases. Decisions about the use of funds generated through the Showcase are made by the Arts Team (composed of teachers and administrators from various educational disciplines and departments), and funds are dispersed at the discretion of our administration. However, the Showcase is first and foremost meant to support our eighth graders in cementing their identity as artists, encouraging younger students in creating that identity in the first place.
When we first introduce the Showcase to eighth graders, we give them an application for inclusion in the Showcase. This application, which is not unlike a job application, requires them to make a plan for what they will be including in the Showcase as well as how they will complete their projects. They may choose to create new pieces or they may choose to include pieces they have already completed in their time at our school. A student cannot even begin to participate in this activity without thinking about their unique skills and interests and how they can make their vision a reality.
Then, students are assigned an adult mentor who will provide support when requested and will also be responsible for closing any communication loops that may occur during the Showcase process. The role of the mentor is to provide resources for the student to realize their vision. Mentors do not participate in the creative process nor do they “nag” students into meeting deadlines.
Finally, students have two major deadlines they must meet. One is the application deadline in which the Arts Team decides whether a student has developed a plan to be successful or not. If the Arts Team is worried a plan will not succeed, the student will be given a chance to either fix their plan or opt out of the Showcase. It is our hope that all interested students will choose to participate.