Tracker Pixel for Entry

Surviving the school year

Arts | October 7th, 2020

By Paul Noot

Artwork by Paul Noot

bismarckartist@yahoo.com

It was in the middle of March when Bismarck teachers were notified that school would not be going back and within a week schools would need a plan to do distance learning. I would have never imagined that I would be at home, teaching art through distance learning. I not only had to learn Google Classroom, but I also had an art exhibit to prepare for and to adjust to changes.

Teaching face-to-face is not even comparable to distance learning. In my early years of teaching, I did teach an Interactive television art class so there were some similarities. This entire experience has been very surreal, especially when I came back to school to gather items and think about if we would be back by the end of the year or everything would be completely online. There were so many questions unclear and would my art exhibit even take place? Surviving the school year would be a challenge, dealing with students not engaging, and designing new lessons that benefitted the students.

In March I had to adapt my lessons and think about how my students and I would get through this pandemic together. My art lessons quickly changed on what supplies the students had at home or what could be readily for them. My art production at home had to take a backseat to this new learning environment. My purpose in my body of artwork had to change; it became a body of work that needed to evolve into something new due to the circumstances. I began to create small sketches of this new direction and it became expressive to depict my moods or emotions I was feeling. Being at home was a new learning curve and I often spent hours in the evening answering emails and reflecting on my art and dealing with all the logistics of technology and teaching remotely.

Teaching became very impersonal and was done asynchronous in the spring of 2020. When the school year ended, I knew my summer was going to be full of uncertainties and challenges. Once the weather warmed up, I needed to be outside and focus on gardening and to recover mentally from an exhausting spring semester. My art became vivid descriptions of animals and their ever-changing surroundings. My work is usually representational but became expressive, colorful surreal and minimal too.

Summer had finally arrived with precautions. Summers were made for relaxing, planning and making more art! Of course I wanted to relax and work on the curriculum for the new school year and my art had to be finished too; the struggle was very real. My son teaches art at a few colleges out in the Los Angeles area and he too was teaching distance learning.

California had more strict quarantine guidelines than ND, so he became very prolific in his art making. Our work had similarities in that both of us were painting animals but uniquely contrasting. His work was more fantasy and had a pop art edge to it. My exhibit was scheduled to open at the Spirit Room in August, and I thought it would be great if we could exhibit together because both of us were dealing with distance learning and trying to create art at the same time.

The struggle has been real, making art under these circumstances can be a daunting task. Our show is entitled, “Father & Son – The Beast Within Us” This is our first art exhibit together and it will tour North Dakota in 2021. We both are currently adding more pieces and collaborating on a few.

I have been teaching a hybrid schedule since August 31 and it has been an unbelievable amount of challenges from engagement with students, lesson planning, time management and maintaining a meaningful Google Classroom with synchronous and asynchronous teaching. Today, my artmaking has become more about making videos, and demonstrations in class. Sketching and gardening after school has been happening to keep my mind and body healthy in these uncertain times. There is a beast that lives within all of us.

[Editor’s note: Paul Noot is an artist and educator in Bismarck North Daktota.]

Recently in:

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comJason Sole may have an impressive resume as a Criminal Justice professor, past president of the Minneapolis NAACP, founder of movements and initiatives, national restorative justice trainer, author,…

By Michael M. Miller  michael.miller@ndsu.eduGermans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo,…

Sons of Norway, Kringen Lodge #4-25, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian culture.Sentrum på 722 2nd Ave N, FargoKringen Kafe er åpen for Kaffe og Bakverk mandag-fredag 9.00 til…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comOur opinion: Let our character and characters define usIt’s no secret that North Dakota is one of our nation’s least visited states, in fact I can think of a handful of folks I’ve chatted…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com Good or Bad Sex Ends Up Controlling and Winning the Numbers GameSex Bio-ethnics Professor Katie Watson says a woman who regularly has sex once a week or more during her reproductive years will…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com“If you had talked to me five years ago or even a year ago and told me I was gonna be a chef in Fargo I probably would have looked at you pretty funny. It's wild where food is taking me in…

By Sabrina Hornung and Jr Lacroixsabrina@hpr1.comProf Comes to Town With a New Album, 'Powderhorn Suites'Minneapolis-based rapper Prof has undergone a number of changes within a short amount of time. Abruptly dropped from the…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMaureen Bharoocha’s “Golden Arm” applies the irresistible combination of long-haul trucking and competitive arm wrestling in the tradition of Menahem Golan’s 1987 Sylvester Stallone cult…

By Sarah Noursacha1689.sc@gmail.comOn Sunday, November 7th, the Spirit Room will hold a reception for “Contaminated Nightmares,” their current exhibition of mixed-media pieces by local artist and musician Adam Bursack. This…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…