Teacher Programs

Teacher ProgramOur teacher programs provide professional development opportunities for K-12 art educators to engage in hands-on artmaking activities and develop strategies for incorporating thematic and contemporary art-driven ideas, projects, and techniques into curricula. These programs are a chance for educators to rejuvenate their creative juices in a community of peers while developing new art skills for themselves and ideas for the classroom. Our teacher programs are funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Upcoming Programs:

Paper or Plastic: Using Recycled Materials in the Art Classroom
Offered in Partnership with Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Friday, January 30, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Free, with lunch provided.

Offered in partnership with Turnip Green Creative Reuse & funded in part by The Tennessee Arts Commission



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Watkins understands that with increasingly limited budgets, educators need to get creative with supplies. That’s why we are partnering with Turnip Green Creative Reuse to offer a program focused on reusing materials in K-12 art classes. Watkins teaching artists, Katie Gonzalez and Meredith Eastburn, will showcase reuse methods through two hands-on workshops: book arts and sculptural installations. Along with gaining curricular knowledge, educators will also get valuable time to make individual and collaborative work. During the program’s lunch break, Watkins will host a small resource fair concentrating on environmentally sound products and practices to aid teachers in learning more about local resources. Workshop space is limited.

During this program teachers will take the following workshops:

FrenchLinkCreating handbound sketchbooks from recycled papers
Participants in this workshop will learn techniques for binding two types of books, plus creative ways to fill their sketchbooks both inside and out. The first book we’ll make is a quick and easy pamphlet stitch book. The second book will be bound with the French link stitch, a method of binding that features exposed crisscross stitching on the spine of the book, allowing you to see and show off your handiwork. These books will be made entirely from reused paper, such as maps, wallpaper samples, vintage book pages, and more. Then, through a series of prompts and activities, participants will transform their blank books into works of art using pencil, ink, paint, found objects, and collage.You will leave the class with two completed handbound books, inspiration to continue exploring and documenting the world in your new sketchbooks, and the skills to incorporate these ideas into your classroom. No bookbinding experience required. All tools and materials will be provided, but feel free to bring any recycled papers that you might want to incorporate into your books.

Creating sculptures and installations with reused materialsPlasticBagInstallation

Artists often work with found objects and reused materials both out of necessity and out of conceptual concern. This workshop will address both motivations. Whether you find yourself needing to get creative with a limited supplies budget or are inviting your students to explore themes of identity, consumption, environmental issues, social inequities, or public/private spaces, this workshop will give you the chance to experiment with repurposed materials in both sculptures and installations. You will invent an accolade for an unsung hero and create a trash trophy — a project rich with opportunities for character education and social justice connections. Then you will collaborate with fellow participants on a plastic bag installation with particular consideration for process and form. You will leave this workshop with ideas for using free/found materials in new ways, tools for connecting these materials to broader themes with your students, and inspiration for your own creative and teaching practice.

What Teachers are Saying About Us

“Thank you for all that you have provided!  I love these opportunities at Watkins.  I always feel so welcomed and warm, and the programs are always really wonderful.”
“Interactive, fun, thought-provoking!”
“Very applicable to my classroom and school.  Very inspirational!”
“Love this program!  Very well done — cannot wait to attend again.”