Teachers Collaborating with the Art Community – Laurel Lampela

Teachers Collaborating with the Art Community – The Southside Gallery Collaboration 

In the summer of 1997 area teachers from the Cleveland Public Schools, Euclid City Schools and Lorain City Schools participated in a unique professional development experience at Cleveland State University.  During a two-week intensive summer art education course the teachers who were graduate students at Cleveland State University collaborated with the Southside Gallery in Tremont, Ohio to get a first-hand look at how gallery owners install art exhibitions and hold opening receptions for the community.   

Teachers enrolled in a new course titled, “Teachers Collaborating with the Art  Community” at Cleve-land State University during June 1997 for four (4) graduate credit hours.  Dr. Laurel Lampela who was an Art Educator and associate professor in the Department of Art at Cleveland State University created and taught the course as a collaborative process linking local galleries, art organizations, and Cleveland-area artists with Cleveland-area teachers.  Teachers who enrolled in the course became more aware of their local art community, the larger art world, and how they played an important role in both.   

Throughout the two-week course teachers got a behind-the-scenes look at the vast resources available to them and their students.  This introduction to the local art community had a lasting effect on the teachers.   Teachers took what they learned during the intensive workshop and shared their knowledge with public school students.  Participants in the course were art teachers and classroom teachers from the greater Cleveland area.  Some of the teachers were practicing artists familiar with the art community and others had little knowledge about the local art community.  As part of the class teachers interviewed a Cleveland-area artist and wrote an art lesson plan based on the artists work.

The highlight of the course was the collaboration with the Southside Gallery in Tremont.  Jean Brandt, owner of Southside Gallery, agreed to have the teachers exhibit artwork they completed during the two-week intensive course at the gallery.  Brandt first provided teachers with an overview of her gallery and discussed the artists she represented.  She then invited the teachers to plan and install their own exhibit.  Teachers installed photo collages they completed during the class that addressed their view of Cleveland.  The photo collages were installed in one large collaborative exhibition.  Teachers found out first-hand the challenges involved in installing about 20 individually framed photographs as one group on a large wall in the gallery.   Despite the energy and time it took to arrange about 20 photo collages, the teachers were pleased with the end result and held an opening reception for families and friends on a Friday evening.   This unique experience proved quite meaningful to the teachers who voiced their overwhelming endorsement of this experience on course evaluation forms at the end of the two-weeks.  

The course was offered again at Cleveland State University for the next few years.  Many general classroom teachers and art teachers from the greater-Cleveland area were able to learn about their art community and participate in meaningful dialogues about art with area artists and art gallery owners.



Laurel Lampela and Cleveland State University

Collaborating with the Art Community

1996 & 1997