Month: January 2016

Growing New Mexico’s Gifted Visual Artists

As a New Mexico public school art teacher turned teacher of gifted students, I’ve long been interested in the overlap of artistic and academic talent. It was satisfying to learn of positive reviews from both professional fields of the recent ESEA reauthorization. The Every Student Succeeds Act has been praised for revisions that will benefit advanced and gifted learners in the public schools It has also been recognized for including the arts as essential, no longer peripheral, to a “well-rounded education.” This reorientation prompted me to consider again what I can do to help develop the talents of gifted visual artists on my caseload.

I’d like to know if anyone in New Mexico is currently providing artistic talent development for students with a demonstrated very superior ability in the domain of visual art. If so, what instruments are used to demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual arts and to show the need for services, and what services can be designed to meet these needs?

The Impact of Disadvantage on Potentially Eminent Visual Artists
Mona Shahid, Artist.

By Daesherri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

I have no doubt there are students with high potential in the visual arts who, without support, will not be prepared to succeed in post-secondary visual arts training. Without such credentials, they are not likely achieve positions of leadership in the arts and influence the work of museums, galleries, and higher education institutions. They have great potential but may be poor, recent immigrants, or racially, culturally, or linguistically marginalized. Unlike the young artists of families with more resources and connections to invest in talent development through clubs, lessons, mentorships, and arts activities, these disadvantaged students may lack affirmation of their artistic talents while young. For college and careers in the arts, they might lack the preparedness of better resourced peers. Can New Mexico’s gifted education programs support young, high-ability visual artists who lack their own connections and resources?
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Cory Messenger: Javits-Scholar at NAGC Conference

This past year, Gifted Educator, Cory Messenger, was able to attend the NAGC Annual Convention as a recipient of the NAGC’s Javits-Frasier Scholarship. Below he discusses some of his experiences and thoughts on the convention and the scholarship program.

What would you like teachers and parents of gifted students in New Mexico to know about NAGC?

The NAGC community is much larger than I had anticipated. It is filled with some of the most dedicated and passionate people I’ve ever met. I think it would be extremely beneficial for the teachers and parents of gifted students to attend the conference as often as possible. There are many impressive speakers covering a vast range of topics related to gifted education and there’s something for everyone there to learn, no matter how experienced he/she may be. Unfortunately, since gifted education is not federally funded, it can become financially challenging for educators to attend. I was very fortunate to be awarded the scholarship, because it may have been my only chance to attend.

Cory Messenger

Cory Messenger

How were you inspired to apply for the Javits-Frasier grant that allowed you to attend the NAGC Annual Convention?

It was my wife’s idea actually. I had been lamenting the fact that I’d probably never be able to afford to go to the conference and she suggested I look for a scholarship. I had never heard of a scholarship of this nature, so while I was skeptical, I took her suggestion. I visited the NAGC website and saw a page dedicated to the Javits-Frasier Scholarship for Diverse Talent Development. As I read the requirements, I couldn’t help but think that I was a perfect applicant. Continue reading