3 Things About Bison: John Shanks Compounds the "Wisdom of the Whole".

3 Things About Bison: John Shanks Compounds the “Wisdom of the Whole”.

3 Things About Bison: John Shanks Compounds the

(Reciprocating original article published in April of 2015)

Having participated in a school visit from famed artist John Shanks earlier this year, I felt like I was in the middle of an action-packed event. It would be interesting to look at the 3 Things About Bison: 1) The breadth and depth of thoughts expressed to this project by Shanks, 2) The select and diverse list of participants in the project, and 3) The need-to-know of launching a school project of this magnitude.

1. Excerpt from the biography of John Shanks, “John Shanks is a Montana-born, California-based artist and educator. He first introduced himself as “John in the woods” in 1976, in an ad for his ranch, Point of View.”

2. From John Shanks work: Bison are powerful beasts, full of compassion and tenacity; they are very patient, giving more than they receive. How could you not be inspired by the nurturing qualities of these noble bison?

3. From John Shanks work: It was obvious to me that inspired and supportive environments benefit art and artists. I have no formal training and feel more encouraged when given opportunities to be creative in schools. When my experience in Curriculum Developing and Planning commenced, I began to see the growing relevance of arts curricula to development of important and relevant skills.

When opportunity arose, I interviewed seven students from UW Grant Park Middle School to ask them what they liked most about the learning model employed by Master Artist John Shanks (as used in the Bison Project). Also, I asked them about the main reasons why they were drawn to the Bison Project.

(Photo: Great Lakes Science Center) UW Grant Park Middle School students tromp through garden’s tulip bulbs together. “Simply create…” said pupil X. University of Michigan school program specialist for arts and culture Emily Nikmanas spoke with the students about the “GREAT THINGS” program.

Reciprocating original article published in the March 2015 issue of School Search.

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