Introducing ArtLink

Introducing ArtLink

Junior High School Classes Willing to Participate in Amazing International Art Exchange Program Urgently Needed!

By Aaron Sponseller

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Are you an ALT interested in lessons that go beyond English and engage your students in something a bit deeper? Are you, your JTE colleagues, school administrators, and students interested in actually participating in an international exchange? Today I would like to introduce you to an amazing opportunity for your students.

Introducing ArtLink

is an international art exchange project organized by an American NPO called Creative Connections. Through ArtLink, classrooms around the world partner with one another and produce art in response to the annual theme. Artwork is then exchanged, and students have the chance to react to the artwork produced by their peers from another country and culture. Through this process students learn about and reflect upon the culture and values of their own communities. They also learn about other cultures and values as well.

The curriculum is very well-organized. All the lessons, worksheets, and other necessary information is included in the ArtLink handbook. The handbook is available in both English and Japanese, and it is critical to understand that ArtLink does NOT have to be conducted in English. Anything that is completed in Japanese will be translated by professional translators who work for Creative Connections.

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Artwork by one of the program participants. Courtesy of Creative Connections.

ArtLink operates on an American school calendar, but they respect the Japanese academic calendar and make every possible effort to help Japanese partner classes finish the program by early February. In general, the program timeline goes as follows:

  • September/October: Create artwork
  • November: Submit work
  • January: Receive partners’ art and International Children’s Art Portfolio
  • February/March: Exchange responses, or videoconference with partner class

Speaking as a former ALT, I wish I had had the opportunity to engage my classes in a project even half as comprehensive, thoughtful, and rewarding as ArtLink. Both you and your students will learn something and have a lot of fun. The quality of the artwork children produce is often astounding. Moreover, ArtLink is almost perfect for ALTs and team-taught classrooms considering JET aims to internationalize young people in Japan.

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An example of the translation services provided. Courtesy of Creative Connections.

Support is always available

Creative Connections is an extremely professional organization. You will always have prompt support should you need it. We provide partner classes with:

  • An energized, motivated partner art class and full contact information
  • Teacher handbook with comprehensive program guidelines and lesson plans
  •  Our office staff, always available, for advice and support over the course of the program
  • A thoughtful set of art produced for your class by your partners
  • Our annual International Children’s Art Portfolio featuring art from many of our partner countries
  • CulturExchange, our partner teacher networking platform
  • All overseas shipping (via DHL)
  • Translation services as needed
  • Videoconferencing facilitation

As the Japan Field Coordinator for Creative Connections, I look forward to working with you. I’ll be available any time to answer your questions or provide whatever support you request. If you have any questions please contact me at akuron24@gmail.com.

Who we need right now

Every year we aim to have 20 partner classes in Japan. At this point we only have 11, so we really need those final nine. We have 9 American junior high school classrooms eagerly waiting to be matched with Japanese junior high school classrooms. If you are teaching elementary school or high school please do not hesitate to contact me. While we are looking for junior high school right now, we may be able to do some maneuvering. Anybody who is interested should contact me. We truly hope you’re classrooms are interested in this wonderful opportunity.

Ready to sign up?

Signing up is a very simple process. Once you are ready to commit to the program, just go to this link and fill in the information. You will then receive all your launch materials. I will be notified at this time as well, and you can introduce the program as soon as you like!

If you have any questions whatsoever please do not hesitate to contact me personally at akuron24@gmail.com or make contact with Creative Connections directly. We hope to hear from you soon.

To find out more about this amazing program, check out the ArtLink program in ten steps and Creative Connections program video below.

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