Design Festa: Real-World Art Experience

Design Festa: Real-World Art Experience
Design Festa: Real-World Art Experience

Design Festa: Real-World Art Experience

by Secondary Art & Design Teacher, Wayne Kumamoto

Preparation for the Design Festa activity starts with students' ideas and the images they first create inside their hearts and minds. We start in late August with after school sessions to build their skills in design so that their dreams can become a reality. I strongly believe that all children, where possible, should be afforded the opportunity to explore learning through what interests them. In the MYP classroom, not every student, at every moment, is following their own interests. With skills to be taught and units of inquiry to cover, it's natural for students to eventually want to test out their own ideas and take risks.

A chance to purely pursue one's own interests in design is rare in the classroom. The Design Festa activity provides exactly that: an opportunity for students to become artists and designers, creating from their own imagination with no boundaries except their own dreams. Because it is a real-world opportunity, where our YIS students exhibit alongside hundreds of other artists and designers, the realization of their dreams into a tangible reality is even more powerful than if just exhibited inside the classroom.

Many of the key social skills in art and design are used: collaboration, constructive criticism, presentation to an audience. When the learning process is relevant and appropriate to students, such experiences not only build their skills and techniques in design, it also grows confidence and a sense of wellbeing.


A range of t-shirts, which involved authentic student driven inquiry and self-initiated visits to factories in Yokohama with his peers, were designed by grade 12 student Cole. A live painting on-site at the Design Festa, led, planned and executed by grade 11 students Erik, Emma and Amane with the support of grade 9 and 10 Art and Design students, is another prime example. It gave many the unique, collaborative opportunity for art & design thinking within the fun but pressure-filled situation of live painting for an audience.

Another year of Design Festa came to an end on Sunday. As grade 11 student Junryu describes, "Design Festa is an event at which you can get some inspiration happening and where you can exercise your own creativity. We normally have many things to do for our IB Diploma, so it is great to make something of your own instead of for a course".

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