Darlington School Blog

Darlington School
Jenna Black
Art Teacher

Jenna Black has taught art in grades 2-8 since 2017. She holds a B.A. in French and Art History from Vanderbilt University and studied abroad in Provence, France. Most recently, Black taught art at Rome First Methodist Preschool. She also owns her own a pet portrait business, Cottage Industry, and tutors high school students in French. No stranger to Darlington, Black has been a substitute teacher at the school for several years, most recently serving as a long-term substitute art teacher for grades pre-K to 2. She is also the mother of Travis ('19), Sanders ('22) and Clara ('27).

Starting Off the School Year With Surrealism

10/27/2017 7:40:00 AM, 147 views

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When I heard that Darlington was going to receive original works of art by Salvador Dalí to have on loan to display in our very own Upper School library, I was beyond excited! My heart was overflowing with gratitude that I have the opportunity to teach at Darlington School, where Fine Arts are appreciated and celebrated, and where someone would generously loan our school and entrust us with such a precious and enriching collection. What a fabulous opportunity for Art Education - how lucky are we to be a part of the Darlington School community?! 

As thrilled as I was about teaching surrealism and having my art students create artwork inspired by Salvador Dalí, I wondered how these surreal creations might be received, as surrealism can definitely be out there!

As we got into the creation process, I realized that surrealism is in fact a fabulous art movement with which to start the year. The beauty of surrealism is in the freedom to express yourself without fear of mistakes, and in fact embracing mistakes. Surrealism is about spontaneity of the unconscious mind and thoughts without censorship. The surrealism movement was about liberating the imagination. This was wonderful for my students at the beginning of the year, and served very well to set the tone for my class, which I want to be a relaxed place where students are free to create unique and original works of art, and learn in the process.    

A few weeks ago, Head of School Brent Bell asked us, as teachers, to reflect on how we can effectively and positively let our students struggle in the classroom.

My philosophy as an art teacher is that creatively there are no mistakes. I want to encourage my students to be vulnerable in expressing themselves creatively in art, and I say often in class that many times our mistakes in art turn into something unexpectedly and wonderfully beautiful. You may think you are going somewhere one way, and then you realize when something didn't turn out quite as you thought it would.

Oftentimes mistakes make the best art! And no matter what, as we all know, making mistakes is how we learn and grow. As my quote by Bob Ross stated at the beginning of the year, "There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents."      

The finished products of my second through eighth grade art students' paintings and drawings were displayed at Fall for the Arts, and they weren't real, they were SURREALl!  I was so proud of their uniquely beautiful artwork.   

The Salvador Dalí art exhibit is on loan from a Darlington family and will be on display in the McCallie-Kennedy Library through Dec. 15. 

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