Better Bulletin Boards!

Bulletin boards are a great way to exhibit student art throughout the year, and let the world (or at least your school) see what your students have been up to. Use bulletin boards to teach a concept, tell a story, share a message, or just brighten everyone’s day! (The bulletin board above, created with oil pastels by my 3rd graders, is one of my all-time favorites…. it even won 1st place at our County Fair!)
Follow these tips for “Better Bulletin Boards”….
1. Get creative! Think beyond just the obvious purpose of displaying student work. Include an explanation of what your students learned and give your viewers the opportunity to learn something new, too.
2. If you’re displaying a group assignment or project, always include everyone who participated and completed their project! (I learned this the hard way with one of my adorable kindergarteners a few years ago…. I had chosen the “best examples” to put up in the school office. Then later I overheard him tearfully tell someone, “I don’t know why she didn’t put mine up. I did it perfectly!” Lesson learned!!)
3. Consider how all the elements of your display work together, including the background, which becomes the “negative space” and an integral part of your design. Picking up a common color, texture or shape to repeat in the background can help tie your display together and give it a feeling of unity. Add interest to the background by creating patterns, texture, or contrast with fabrics or paint.
4. Try using yarn, string, ribbon or paper of a contrasting color to direct eye movement through your display.

5. Don’t be afraid to let pieces being displayed overlap the borders of your bulletin board and even travel right off the edges and around the room or down the hall…. assuming that’s not “off limits”, of course!
6. Add accents that complement the subject of your display. For example, paintings of fall trees could have some real leaves sprinkled below them or self-portraits could be mounted on 3D paper frames.

7. Give your bulletin boards a title, so that viewers can know what they’re looking at. Keep your titles short, “catchy”, and easily readable at a glance, like a good headline.
8. No matter how wonderful a bulletin board may be, after a while people stop noticing it. Keep changing your bulletin boards to keep things fresh!


5 Responses to Better Bulletin Boards!

  1. Kelly January 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    I LOVE that bulletin board! Very powerful and wonderful. :-)

  2. Patty P January 15, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    You've inspired me to consider making bulletin boards. I don't do it at all. Except for hanging art in the art room, I make no effort to post it elsewhere. Perhaps your school is like mine (Santa Barbara) and have no indoor wall space? Where do you put your displays?

  3. TeachKidsArt January 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Patty! I'm glad I've inspired you… you have certainly inspired me!! :) I had a wonderful 4'x8' bulletin board in our school office that was all mine until they remodeled the office last year and covered that wall with filing cabinets! Now I have the same situation as you, with no indoor wall space…. except for inside the individual classrooms, or off-site displays. I plan to look into more off-site options for displaying student work… a good way to advertise our school, too!

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  5. Anonymous February 10, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Love your ideas! Our school has a group called Meet the Artist. Thank you,