Yesterday was my last day of the school year, and this year, my kids were focused up until the very end! This year, I decided to start an acrylic painting assignment the last few weeks of school. I gave each student a canvas, and I feel like having a canvas helped. Many of the students had never worked on one before so they were really excited at the opportunity to create something great! Working on a canvas enabled them to stay focused, which is definitely hard to do in the month of May and June!
This assignment is one that I have been doing throughout my teaching career. I think this is the third time I have done this! I’ve taught this not only in high school but also in middle school and I love the results! We talked about Pop Culture and what types of things are popular today. Students brainstorm many ideas and come up with a good list. Then, we research all different types of art and artists! I have had them research in a computer lab, but this past time, a computer lab wasn’t available so I brought in a ton of printables and art magazines and books. I had students work in groups to write down different artists that caught their attention and different art movements that they enjoyed.
Then, students had to come to me with an idea. They needed to tell me what artist they wanted to base their painting off of, what painting specifically, and what they would incorporate into the painting to make it more original and their own.
Another really great thing about this assignment is that you can guide students in a direction that they will all be successful. For example, I had some students who were more successful doing a Pop Art inspired painting, where they did not need to mix colors or do any shading or blending. Some students had experience painting before so I guided them in the direction of a Monet or a Rembrandt painting, etc. This way, all students had different results at all different levels, yet they were all able to be successful!
Already, I have lived in Nashville Tennessee two different times in my life. I am 26, and I plan on going back to Nashville many more times. The first time, I was a college student interning at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Later, I moved to Nashville from New Jersey (where I live). I taught down there for a year while I was waiting for a job to open up near me.
Let me just say- as someone who kind of sometimes doesn’t enjoy cities that much, Nashville stole my heart. Here are 12 reasons why I feel like Nashville is such a magical place. Feel free to add your reasons in the comments!
1. The Art and Music Scene
So maybe my opinion is a little biased (I teach art and I am a huge music lover) but I know that many people will agree! Nashville has so much music to offer… duh, Music City USA! But on top of that, as a teacher, there were SO many great opportunities for community involvement within the city itself. I had work on display at the Factory in Franklin, and student’s work was in the Frist Center for Visual Arts in downtown Nashville.
http://nashvillearts.com/ is still to this day one of my go to sites (even though I’m now 14 hours away). It is definitely refreshing to find a city and place that is so involved, so current with all of these great events and opportunities for artists.
So when I lived in Nashville for 3 months during my internship, I gained 8 pounds. YEP, 8. And do I regret it? Nope! How could I not take advantage of living across from Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant? How could I not take advantage of the BBQ, pulled pork, fried food, and desserts? (Sidenote, I don’t drink. So the 8 pounds I gained was 100% Nashville food goodness). One of my favorite instagrams that I follow is https://www.instagram.com/nashvillefoodfan/?hl=en. This girl lives the life. And when I’m back in New Jersey missing some of the great food Nashville has to offer, I take full advantage of her food porn. What restaurants do you love in Nashville??
3. The People
As someone who I would consider “selectively social”, I really enjoy all of the diverse people that Nashville has to offer. When I lived there in 2013, I met a lot of people from Nashville, yet when I lived there in 2015-2016, I met about 10 people who moved from somewhere outside of Nashville for everyone 1 person I met who actually lived in Nashville. And I get why! As a teacher, the majority of my friends that I worked with lived from somewhere else- New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, California, Arizona, Illinois, wherever. The people that Nashville attracts all share the same love for the city and I feel like that in itself is enough to completely bond over. I loved going out and meeting new people, and learning about them, where they are from, why they came to Nashville, etc.
4. The Landscapes
In 2013, my favorite spot was sitting at the edge of Riverfront Park, overlooking the Cumberland River and now, Nissian Stadium. I brought my sketchbook. When I attended CMA Fest, I was amazed at the skyline view that I saw when I looked from the stadium, across the river, to downtown. I literally remember just stopping in that moment and staring at the skyline and just genuinely appreciating the beauty and how fortunate I was to be living there. Not to mention all the beautiful hills and mountains that I got to see whenever I drove around. A perfect mix of hills, rivers, mountains, parks, trees, lakes, so damn beautiful!
5. The Hiking
As a girl who lived here with her dog, we took full advantage of all the great hiking! Radnor Lake, Percy Priest, Percy Warner and Edwin Warner Parks. Being from good ol’ flat New Jersey, these hikes really kicked my butt! Outside of Nashville, we went down the Natchez Trace Parkway, to Fall Creek Falls, Burgess Falls, Cummin Falls, just to name a few. If you follow me on my instagram, http://instagram.com/makemesanguine, you will most likely find a lot of adventure pictures of me and my dog, Bridget. (Along with a crap ton of art lesson plans and sunset pictures).
6. Music Festival Goodness!
So in the 3 months I worked in Nashville, I attended CMA Music Festival. This is something that everyone should experience (in my opinion). I saw a shit ton of bands downtown. I saw Bob Dylan at Riverfront Park. (This was before they built Ascend Amphitheater). When teaching in 2015-2016, I went to Pilgrimage Festival. It was the first year they started it. I was front row for Weezer in the pouring rain (best experience ever!!), Iron and Wine, Band of Horses, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler, etc!
I also attended Bonnaroo three times! 2011, 2012, and 2013! I didn’t go the past two years and that was simply because I just wasn’t feelin’ the lineup as much as I have felt it in earlier years!
7. The History!
I must admit this is one thing that makes me a bit sad- With all of the big buildings, condos, apartments, businesses joining Nashville, I’m noticing they are eliminating some of the smaller, more historical buildings. This is one of my favorite parts of Nashville- all the beautiful old brick buildings! The history, the old warehouses. Seeing where Elvis Presley played, where some of my favorite country singers lived, ah I love all of that! Mike Wolfe, one of my favorite TV show guys, actually works on restoration projects in Nashville. I follow his instagram, because I am so interested in seeing how he is preserving this wonderful city! What are some of your favorite old or historical buildings?
8. The Celebrities
I must admit, I fangirl pretty hard. For example, in 2011, my dad and I attended the CMA Awards. While walking on lower Broadway, we ran into Zac Brown. I froze up and acted awkward AF! Meanwhile, my dad shook his hand and talked to him about his performance for that night. Cool Dad.
But besides that, I taught in a town where Jason Aldean attended the school volleyball games. I was in the same town as Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Mike Wolfe , etc. My cousin came down to visit me and ended up at Luke Bryan’s farm… what?! Yep, that happened.
9. Small Towns
Outside of Nashville, there are some pretty dang cute small towns. I taught in Leiper’s Fork, located up in the hills (my ears popped for the few few months that I drove to work), it has some adorable little shops, restaurants, some live music, etc. Two of my favorites are Franklin TN and Leiper’s Fork TN!
10. The Education
Nerd alert- I love learning. And Nashville has so much to offer when it comes to that. I took classes at Vanderbilt University (adult education classes) where I learned Printmaking Techniques. I attended events and street festivals where I learned how to silkscreen scarves. I went to craft fairs where I saw demonstrations to learn new techniques in printing, small businesses, etc. I felt like there were so many opportunities in this city, no matter what you are interested in, to always continue learning and finding new things to be excited about.
So clearly there is SO MUCH that Nashville has to offer. This city is near and dear to my heart. It is no wonder that so many people are continuing to move here. I’d love to hear other reasons why this city is so wonderful, in the comment section! 🙂