Artist Mark Cooper aims to change the way you think about making art with kids.
Working with schools around the country, Cooper has brought together scores of teachers and hundreds of children to make remarkable collaborative art that has enlivened classrooms and public spaces and been displayed in the nation's most prestigious museums.
In this inspiring, practical, idea-filled book, Cooper shows how any teacher—not just art teachers—can imagine and execute similar projects in their own classrooms.
But more than that, Cooper transforms our sense of possibilities, arguing for a new view of art in schools. Making Art Together is a book about art education structured around big ideas: that adults can flourish in the role of Master Artist, that the perspective of contemporary art offers liberating possibilities for rethinking art in schools, that art can and should be about the larger world, and thus naturally ties in to all areas of the curriculum.
Most of all, Cooper shows us the power of collaboration. From mammoth, freestanding sculptures to billboards against violence to maps of the world, the projects here are all planned, designed, and completed by children themselves. The resulting artwork is complex and ambitious on a scale that would be out of reach for any individual child. Working collaboratively, using a distinctly democratic model, kids actually think and work like adult artists throughout every stage of the project. Together the sky's the limit—the artistic and educational opportunities are boundless.
Making Art Together is a bold, beautifully illustrated book that could—at a time when art budgets are being slashed—revitalize our sense of what art in schools can accomplish.
About the Author
Mark A. Cooper was born in London and moved with his wife and son to the U.S. in 2003. When his 12-year-old son's grades improved after reading the "Harry Potter "series, Mark decided to encourage literacy with his own novel. He self-published "Fledgling: Jason Steed "and the novel has enjoyed huge success and a devoted following on the web.
Making Art Together is a book that is both practical and revolutionary. Using the latest knowledge on holistic learning, Cooper shows how an art project can educate on a multitude of levels and unify classrooms and whole communities. Among other things, the book is a kind of bible of differentiated instruction, guiding the reader through the process of making art that challenges and appeals to many different learning styles. We also see how collaborative art-making can teach the democratic importance of mutual understanding and respect and serve as a source of great pride for individuals and communities. Making Art Together should be required reading for all elementary and secondary school teachers.—John Laughton, composer, professor, and former dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
"Every teacher, artist, or parent should have this book for their work with kids."—Henry Horenstein, professor of photography, Rhode Island School of Design, author of Beyond Basic Photography
"Brings an exciting new perspective to the dialogue on the role of art in education." —Education Review
"Students don't have to paint like da Vinci to make worthwhile art, and teachers who have never picked up a paintbrush can still use collaborative art projects to enrich their teaching and the world at large . . . that's the upbeat message of this humane book . . . illustrated with more than 90 photos of wonderful sculptures, murals, and billboards Cooper helped students and teachers across the country create . . . 'The thrill and aha! of thinking creatively, so central to any artistic endeavor, is also essential to education,' the authors proclaim. People need to hear this more than ever now." —Howard Good, Teacher Magazine
"What sets Cooper's ideas apart are his emphasis on democratic decision making throughout the collaborative art process and his ability to make that process accessible to teachers and students alike . . . From the looks of the results, it's worth the journey." —Gwenn Mayers, National Art Education Association News