Teachers’ Webinar: Programme Schedule and Speakers

For the Education Department’s upcoming Teachers’ Webinar on Saturday, November 14, 2020, kindly see the event’s programme in addition to information about the moderator and presenters.

About the moderator:

Kirt Henry currently serves as Assistant Curator and head of the Education Department at the National Gallery of Jamaica. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Heritage Studies with a minor in Cultural Studies from The University of the West Indies, Mona. Presently, He is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at the Institute of Caribbean Studies (UWI, Mona). Kirt’s research focuses on the production of meaning through dress forms in Revival rituals and ceremonies across postcolonial Jamaica. He has served as an adjunct lecturer at The UWI, Mona where he taught courses on African religious retentions, fashion and material culture in the Caribbean.  

About the presenters: 

Monique Barnett-Davidson is the acting Senior Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica. She holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (Kingston, Jamaica) and an M.A in Heritage Studies from the University of the West Indies (Mona). Since 2007, Monique has worked in various aspects of the visual arts in Jamaica including art education, exhibition programming and development, as well as art museum education and research. From 2006 to 2010, she also worked as an art teacher, mainly at the secondary school level. She has been a lead coordinator for several educational programmes at the NGJ including public forums, outreach initiatives and workshops. 

Cristal Clayton- Wallace has been employed to the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) as a Curatorial Assistant since 2014. She is a graduate of The Mico University College where she attained a B.A. in Visual Arts Education. In 2018 she represented the NGJ at the annual Museum Association of the Caribbean (MAC) Conference in Barbados after being awarded a MAC Fellowship to attend. Periodically, Cristal has worked as co-coordinator and coordinator for the Saturday Art Time Programme and the Multicare Summer Art on The Waterfront Programme respectively. In addition she also writes the NGJ’s contributions to the All about Sweet Jamaica section of the Observer’s Junior Study Centre.   

Dwayne Lyttle is a graduate of the St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College where he attained a Diploma in Primary Education. His professional focus includes the areas of cultural education, instructional communication and visual arts instruction. Currently, he is employed to the National Gallery of Jamaica as a Curatorial Assistant, in the Education Department. Within this department, Lyttle develops educational programmes, does research, conducts tours and periodically executes workshop training as well as visual arts classes for children. In 2016 he co-authored with Monique Barnett Davidson, a paper titled Adapt or Perish: An Assessment of Emerging Museum Educational Strategies at the National Gallery of Jamaica, published in the Museum Association of the Caribbean’s online Journal, Caribbean Museum.

NGJ Teachers’ Webinar: “Supporting Art, Experiences and Learners”

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be hosting its Teachers’ Webinar, via the NGJ’s YouTube Channel, on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM. The live-streamed event is being coordinated by the NGJ Education Department under the theme “Supporting Art, Experiences and Learners”

The Teachers’ Webinar is a special edition of NGJ’s annual Teachers’ Seminar series, which was initiated in 2014 and specifically designed to equip, train and support teachers and teachers-in-training, to effectively incorporate the museum as a resource space. This webinar is coordinated as an extension of the Art-Ed Support project, which was initiated by the NGJ Education Department in July 2020 and entails a series of online art educational initiatives, designed to provide informational resources for a variety of scholastic and academic activities associated with the study and application of visual arts. 

The management of NGJ believes that the webinar will create opportunities for the NGJ to connect with a wider audience of educational professionals, regardless of the discipline or grade level. Key objectives for the NGJ’s Teachers’ Webinar will be to delineate procedures, concerning research and accessing NGJ educational services, as well as providing participants with information on how to apply museum resources in lesson planning.

Moderated by Assistant Curator in Education, Mr. Kirt Henry, with opening remarks delivered by Chief Curator, Mr. O’Neil Lawrence; the webinar will feature presentations from Curatorial Assistants, Mr. Dwayne Lyttle and Mrs. Cristal Clayton-Wallace. A preview video for the Webinar, entitled, “Education through the Museum Experience”, presented by Senior Curator, Mrs. Monique Barnett-Davidson – will premiere on the NGJ’s YouTube Channel, on Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

There are no registration requirements or costs associated with the NGJ Teachers’ Webinar; however, the event will not have open access. To view the webinar simply enter, or click on the following video:

The link will also be posted on the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  For more information, email the NGJ Education Department at educate@natgalja.org.jm, or call at (876) 922-1561, (876) 922-1563 or (876) 618-0654. You can follow the National Gallery of Jamaica, on the above-mentioned platforms and at the NGJ Blog, https://nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com.

Hurricane Preparedness and Your Art

The Atlantic hurricane season begins annually on June 1st and continues until November 30. To date, the 2020 season has set a new precedent in terms of having the earliest forming storms and occurrence of two active storms in the region simultaneously – and we haven’t reached the peak of the season yet! Hurricanes and tropical storms are comprised of winds rotating around a low pressure centre, and are formed over warm waters. In the Caribbean, extreme winds, flooding and lightning strikes are common and in many cases cause significant threat to human life, property, and major infrastructure. Based on this once a storm threat has been identified, governments and businesses put strategies in place to manage the effects of these natural phenomena on their operations and hasten recovery.

In addition, museums and heritage institutions housing important cultural items have also developed disaster management plans for this annual storm season, which is composed of conservation and risk management methodologies. With the understanding that hurricane winds can escalate to speeds of more than 119 km/h as well as, the volume of water can increase 0.6 inches/665km radius, heritage 2 professionals apply that knowledge to build effective disaster prevention plans for their collections. Many plans, regardless of the institution, contain similar or general rules such as “never store artwork on the floor” in case of flooding or “avoid placing artwork near exposed windows” in case of water and wind damage. Equally, museums and heritage institutions tailor their disaster plans to the specific challenges that they face.

These methodologies provide the necessary framework for protection and preservation of our priceless tangible assets, and ensure their longevity for future generations to enjoy. 

So what measures can we use to protect our tangible cultural heritage? 

While it is difficult to plan for every possible outcome, conducting risk management assessments can go a long way in mitigating the amount of damage our cherished valuables receive. Much of this mitigation involves practicing preventive measures in light of the many “what if’s” that may trouble the mind, once a tropical storm announcement is made. With an extremely active hurricane season predicted for the remainder of 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica would like to share some of our tips to help protect your art and valuables during this hurricane season. To assist your preparations, we’ve separated our checklist into two sections for your benefit, these are: Before and After. We invite you to read through and prepare appropriate to your needs.

  • Develop a hurricane preparedness plan for your artwork.
    • If one already exists, review to ensure information is accurate and up to date.
    • Ensure that individual/employee responsibilities are outlined in a clear and concise manner. Eg. In the event of a power failure, who is responsible for the operation of the generator?
  • Photograph all of your artwork and store the photos safely.
    • Take photos of their placement in their current placement and up close photos of artwork itself.
    • Take photos of the painted image (the face) along with the reverse (verso) of the work for comparison.
    • Be sure to label each photo appropriately and upload them to an online storage platform like google or one drive for safekeeping. You can email the photos to yourself as well.
    • If you prefer or do not have access to an online storage platform, you can store your images on a secondary storage device like an SD card or flash drive and store the physical devices in a waterproof location.
    • You may also print the photographs, if you prefer, but be sure to label and store them in a ziplock bag or waterproof location.
  • Record the condition of your works.
    • This should involve documenting the artist name, dimensions, and current condition of the work (good, fair, poor). Document everything associated with the work to the best of your ability.
    • If you are not sure what to do, contact a heritage professional or a conservator for advice.
  • Get an appraisal of your artwork. In the case where your collection carries significant value, get a certified art appraiser to give you an estimated value. Secure this documentation as it will be crucial for your insurance at a later date.
  • Identify the safest room in your home or business to store your art:
    • Ensure windows are sealed and watertight, that there are no leaks or weakened areas of the roof.
  • Remove art from the walls and store elevated from the floor (at least 3 ft):
    • If possible, stack paintings vertically from largest to smallest, ensuring the frames of the preceding and succeeding works rest comfortably on each other. If unframed, place a sheet of acid free tissue paper where edges of the work touch to mitigate sticking and paint loss.
  • Cover your art stack with a plastic sheeting or tarp:
    • Secure edges of the plastic sheeting at the same time allowing some air to pass under the sheet. It is essential that you do not create a microclimate which will encourage mold growth and moisture damage.
  • If possible, consider crating your art:
    • Building specialized art storage will go a long way in ensuring the safety of your collection.
  • In the case of outdoor sculptures consider building a support or securely anchoring the work with rope to a concrete beam:
    • Where possible avoid anchoring to the ground as the earth could become waterlogged.
  • Consult your disaster management plan.
    • Contact all those involved according to the tasks delegated in the plan.
  • Remove plastic sheeting, and relocate collection to a safe but brightly lit and ventilated area and conduct an inspection.
    • Use photographs taken before the event to determine any condition changes to the artworks.
    • If damage is identified contact a conservation professional or depending on the extent of the damage you can carry the work to a local framer for advice.
    • Be on guard for water or moisture damage around the fame and on the matte or linen liner if present.
  • Conduct a condition report.
    • Using the same format as the condition report documented before the event, note the current condition of the artwork. Document any changes noted during your inspection. If no changes are noted secure your condition report for future reference – it will be needed in the event of another Hurricane or Natural disaster.
  • Contact your insurance company and inform them of damage if present.
    • The conservator will provide you with a condition report which along with the appraisal should be handed over to our insurance company with your claim documentation.
  • If damage is superficial ( only to the frame for exterior parts of the work), lightly dust the artwork with a soft brush or microfibre cloth and return to the hanging position on the wall.
    • If this is not possible, return the artworks to the storage stack or to the crate until it is safe to display them.

1 Matthew Cappucci. (2020) “ Tropical storm Nana forms in Caribbean, could make landfall as hurricane in Belize. Omar forms off East Coast.” The Washington Post. September 1, 2020. URL:https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/09/01/tropical-storm-nana-nears-formation-caribbean-atlantic-hurricane-season-stays-unusually-active/ [September 2, 2020]

2 According to Meteorologist William M. Gray, former head of the Tropical Meteorology Project.

Writivity Essentials #3: Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal (Pt. 2)

In Part One, we covered five key activities that you (the student) must do before you begin an Art Analysis. At the end of Part Two, you should be able to use an artwork to generate ‘analytical’ information for the following areas: 

  1. Description
  2. Analysis
  3. Evaluation

Please be reminded, that you must always seek guidance from your Teacher. She or He can give advice on how much to write, and help you to choose which pieces of information gathered from your observation, are the most important to write on.  Also remember, that an art analysis is your informed opinion, therefore you must avoid using someone else’s thoughts; rely on your own thoughts as well as use your own words.

The writings for a Description, an Analysis and an Evaluation of an artwork should be no more than one paragraph for each. Each section functions within your Reflective Journal in the following ways:

  1. DESCRIPTION

This section identifies the title of the artwork, who made it, when it was made and what materials were used to create it. The Description also gives information about the physical appearance of the artwork and the images that are depicted in it.

  1. ANALYSIS

This section explores the finer details of the artwork including the identification of techniques used in the artwork, evidence of art elements and principles and the effects that they produce in the overall composition.

  1. EVALUATION 

This section explores the value of the artwork to your chosen theme and your understanding of the associated expressive form. A key question to be answered in this section is: what makes this artwork important to your CSEC Visual Arts research and the development of your student work?

For a demonstration on how to generate information for each section, you can watch the video below:

So let us quickly recap the main points for making an Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal:

  1. An Art Analysis is a detailed examination of the qualities and features of an artwork, in order to know more about it.
  2. The key activities needed to prepare for doing an Art Analysis are:
    • Selecting the artwork
    • Setting time for observation
    • Choosing a method of documentation 
    • Refreshing your knowledge of art terms 
    • Using these words to draft sentences and paragraphs for the Reflective Journal
  1. You can organize and write the information you have collected from doing the Art Analysis into three sections:
    1. Description
    2. Analysis
    3. Evaluation

Each section only needs to be one (1) paragraph in length.

This brings us to the end of “Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal” and of the Writivity Essentials series. We sincerely hope that the information presented was beneficial to those teaching and pursuing studies for CSEC Visual Arts. Please remember to keep up with us by subscribing to all our platforms on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter and be sure to also activate the notification features so you will always be in the know when it comes to the NGJ.

Writivity Essentials #3: Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal (Pt. 1)

Welcome CSEC Visual Arts teachers and students to the final installment of the Writivity Essentials series. Writivity Essentials #2 introduced the Simple Research Process (SRP) and its application to research for the Reflective Journal. Writivity Essentials #3 is a two-part article, focused on developing the Art Analysis. At the end of Part One, you should become familiar with five (5) key preparation activities before you finalize your analyses.

PART ONE – GETTING READY

Generally, an analysis (singular) is a detailed examination of something to gain a better understanding of it. Analyses (plural) can be expressed verbally or in writing. When one analyses artwork, it entails making a detailed examination of its qualities, which can include physical features as well as symbolisms and conceptual value. CSEC Visual Arts students are required to include in the Reflective Journal, written art analyses of your artwork and the works of the artists you choose. As this may be the first time that you will be making art analyses, it is strongly recommended that you do it in consultation with your teacher, who will offer valuable guidance for this process. As every art analysis is unique to a person’s point of view, art analyses are used by your teacher and the examiners to judge how well you can develop an informed opinion about an artwork.

Before you begin to analyse, there are five (5) preparatory activities you must do:

1. SELECT THE ARTWORK

This can be any suitable example of the Expressive Forms you have chosen. You can view artwork either as physical objects or as photographic reproductions in digital images or print. As a quick reminder, Expressive Forms for CSEC Visual Arts are:

  • Drawing
  • Painting and Mixed Media
  • Graphic and Communication Design
  • Printmaking
  • Textile Design and Manipulation
  • Sculpture and Ceramics
  • Leather Craft
  • Fibre and Decorative Arts

2. SET TIME FOR OBSERVATION

Observation is your ability to closely examine or inspect the artwork. To make good observations, you spend time in active looking in order to identify various types of details in the artwork that a short glance will miss. The time you take to view an artwork should be no shorter than 30 minutes.  Artwork can be viewed in two key ways:

  • Artwork can be viewed as a physical object on display, as would be seen in a museum (like the NGJ), at an art gallery or even in someone’s home. If you are looking at the artwork as a physical object on display, make sure that:
    • You are viewing it in a well-lit environment.
    • You have permission from the owner of the artwork to move closer to it. 
  • Artwork can also be viewed as a photographic reproduction, which you can find as either a printed (eg. found in books, magazines and pamphlets) or digital image. Please note that digital images must be viewed using an electronic device with a display screen. The more commonly used ones are computers, tablets, smart phones and most digital cameras. If you are looking at the artwork as a photographic reproduction, make sure that:
    • For books and other print documents like magazines, you try using a magnifying glass or sheet to make some details bigger and easier to see. If you want to take pictures, make sure you seek permission before doing so.
    • For digital images viewed on an electronic device, make sure that you use an image viewing app that has a ‘Zoom’ feature that can also magnify details. 

3. CHOOSE A METHOD OF DOCUMENTATION

This is the method or process you will choose to record your observations and thoughts about the artwork. Two common ways that persons can document from observation is to:

  • Write notes in a notebook or do so electronically, using note-taking apps that you can use on a smart phone or tablet.
  • Record voice notes, using either a sound recording device or an app that you can download to your smart phone or tablet.

4. REFRESH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF ART TERMS 

These are words that identify or describe expressive forms, techniques, art materials, as well as elements and principles of art. Examples of some art terms are “painting”, “mixed media”, “textile design”, “green”, “tones”, “carving”, “emphasis”, “line”, “proportion”, “harmony”, among many others. Ensure that you know well the terms that are relevant to your research and upcoming analysis.  For example, the terms relevant to an example of Graphic and Communication Design could be “layout”, “dimension”, “illustration” or “font styles”.

5. USE THESE WORDS TO DRAFT SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS

Once you have the Art Terms you need to know, use them to create sentences and paragraphs that test how well you can communicate the information you know and understand about an artwork. For example, please spend a few moments looking at the photographic reproduction of a painting below:

Osmond Watson – Jah Lives (1984), Collection: NGJ

Using information gathered from research and observation, one can use art terms to create a description of the artwork. This is demonstrated in the following sentence (please note that the art terms used in the sentence below are in bold and underlined):

Once you have completed all these activities, then you will be ready to begin developing your ART ANALYSES. 

Part Two of this article will focus on a demonstration of the process of Art Analysis.

Writivity Essentials #2: Researching for the Reflective Journal (Pt 2)

Part Two – Applying the Simple Research Process to the Reflective Journal

In Part One, we offered a simple definition for the term ‘research’ and outlined an approach to the Simple Research Process. At the end of Part Two, you should be able to use the Simple Research Process to gather, organize and assess the information you have accessed for your Reflective Journal. In preparation for this, we advise you (student) to do the following:  

  • Read through and familiarize yourself with the list of headings or sections for the Reflective Journal, outlined in the CXC Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate Visual Arts Syllabus.
  • Make notes on a sheet of paper or notebook listing the main pieces of information which you believe are necessary to complete each heading or section. 
  • Share the list you have made with your teacher and discuss with him or her if there is any information you need to add or remove.

If you have done that, we can get started!

STEP 1 – Develop Research Questions

Following the discussion with your teacher, write down each of the following words:

  • Theme
  • Technique
  • Artist
  • Works of Art

Under each word, write a list of questions to be answered and/or problems which may need to be solved, in order to generate the information that will be needed to complete each section/chapter of the reflective journal. Please see the examples below, using the words ‘Theme’ and ‘Artist’:

STEP 2 – List Information Sources

With your research question(s) and problem statement(s) listed, your next action is to list your sources of information. These will help you to answer the research question(s) or solve the problem statement(s) you had listed earlier. Sources of information can be a resource person, an organization, a publication (eg. Book or magazine) and online sources. Please note that all sources of information can be placed under the categorical headings such as Organization, Publication, Resource Person and Online Source. See example below:

STEP 3 – Share the Information you have gathered with your Teacher

Once you have listed who you need to interview, which institution you need to visit, which books you need to read and so on, make sure to share all of that information with your teacher. This is important as your teacher’s feedback will more than likely contain advice that will be helpful to you. This can guide you in identifying sources you may have overlooked as well as the over or under-use of information sources you have found. You should also take the opportunity to talk with your teacher about the potential execution and completion dates which need to be set for engaging with each source that is. You can find a general list of online sources of information for Jamaican visual arts here

From the discussions with your teacher, you would begin to realise that some of your listed sources may be more important than others. However it is not until you reach this third step that you are able to confirm which sources are most useful versus those which are only slightly useful. The reason such a decision can be made at this point is because at step 2 you were just listing, and speculating about sources, but at step 3 you begin to use and access sources to collect information.

STEP 4 – Using and Accessing Information Sources

This means that you will be doing specific tasks such as:

  • Taking notes
  • Conducting interviews
  • Visiting and viewing locations
  • Searching online databases and other such activities

As you do the above-listed tasks, make sure that you carry out the following tips and recommendations below:

  1. All information collected for your research must be properly labelled. Therefore notes or photocopies must be labelled in such a way that the title, author/editor, year of publication and relevant page numbers from the document they come from can be easily identified.
  2. If any audio or video recordings are done by you, its label should include: who was interviewed, and who asked the questions, the date of the interview, the location of interview and the length of the interview.
  3. Whenever you are using printed materials like books and newspapers for example, never photograph the pages of these items while using them, especially in a library, as such an act without the permission from the author is illegal, request a photocopy instead.
  4. As much as possible use only local and regional artist and government online sources to find information about artists, their work and their themes as non-regional websites and sources may prove to be inaccurate. 

STEP 5 – Double-check Your Information

Make every effort to double check the information which you have collected to answer your research question(s) or problem statement(s). You double check your information by looking at what you have written down or typed to make sure that it reflects  what was discovered in the source that you took it from. In addition, you also double check by seeing if you can find the same information in more than one source, for example, if you find information in a book that an artist was born on a particular day, see if you can find the birth date of the artist in another book or a online source as well. By so doing you can be more confident that you are using reliable information.  

After doing that, another double checking action which you can perform includes emailing and or handing in to your teacher all the information you have found for him or her to examine it. To make this hand in easier for your teacher to interpret, under each question or problem make a comment about what you have found or just write out/type out the answer. Once your teacher has read through what you have presented, arrange a meeting with him or her to discuss their general comments, recommendations and or directives. At the end of this step you should be able to confirm that the information you have collected is accurate and can be used to answer your research questions and solve your research problems.

Step 6 – Presenting your Research Information in the Reflective Journal

At this step you are now ready to organize all appropriate information collected via research or generated through the development of personal art works, into a set of written paragraphs. These paragraphs are then to be used to complete each section/chapter of the CSEC visual arts Reflective Journal. This completes our focus on the role and related activities of research for the Reflective Journal. We hope that the information will be useful not only to students but also to the teachers who are, or will be leading these activities with their students. Look out for the final instalment of Writivity Essentials which will be focused on developing the “Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal”.