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Making Art Together

by Mark Cooper and Lisa Sjostrom

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Making Art Together
In Making Art Together, Boston-based artist Mark Cooper, with teacher Lisa Sjostrom, advocates for the power of collaborative art-making among school children. Cooper, an internationally recognized artist and a professor of art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Boston College, has led collaborative art projects in classrooms all over the country. In Making Art Together, he pulls this personal experience into a guide for teachers who would benefit from his work.<br><br> Coopers collaborative artworks include billboards, sculpture, and public art. In his book, he begins with a very simple example, allaying fears that his readers may have in approaching what might seem a daunting task:
"Take a large sheet of paper and grid it into squares. Ask each of your students to decorate one square however he or she likes -- with a solid color, for example, or a drawing of a face, or a pattern of cirlces, squiggles, or lightning bolts. This is a bona fide collaborative art project."<br><br> Cooper outlines five basic principles:<br><br> 1. The teacher serves as master artist<br> 2. Use a framework to maximize the likelihood of success<br> 3. Work collaboratively throughout.<br> 4. Draw on the perspectives and techniques of contemporary art.<br> 5. Tie the artwork to the larger world.<br><br> In Making Art Together, Cooper elaborates upon each of these, thus offering a step by step guide to the process that teachers can bring in to the schools (or parents can bring into the home, for that matter) and make practical use of. Making Art Together is a wonderfully accessible read for any who are involved in making art with kids.
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