Collaging Our Way Through the Curriculum at Kolaj Fest New Orleans

collage by Katie Heft, a student in Barbara Miner’s course, “Concepts of Art Studio/Theory”. Courtesy of the artist.


Collaging Our Way Through the Curriculum

An interactive workshop for educators with Barbara Miner and Ashley Pryor Geiger

Thursday, 8 June 2023, 3:15PM to 4:30PM
Ogden Museum of Southern Art


Kolaj Fest New Orleans is a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, 7-11 June 2023. Visit the website to learn more, see an overview of the program, and register to attend.

At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Toledo, Ohio-based collage artists and educators Barbara Miner and Ashley Pryor Geiger will lead an interactive workshop aimed at educators who want to incorporate collage into their curriculum. The artists write:

It is no secret that higher education in the United States is in crisis mode in the long wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the pandemic brought a new wave of financial woes to our institutions of higher education–many of which were already suffering from declining enrollments due to demographic shifts, culture wars, and decreased state funding for our public universities, but also of incoming students who have suffered unprecedented social and emotional deprivations due to extended lockdowns, quarantines, loss of loved ones, and extended periods of online-only educational opportunities. Not surprisingly, when these students arrive on campus, many face significant problems finding their footing. Not only are many of these students arriving academically underprepared, but many are finding it hard to sustain focused attention, participate in class discussions or find a true purpose or meaning in their studies–and sometimes even in their lives.

Traditionally, collage has been viewed as a most wonderfully egalitarian artistic pursuit: inexpensive materials, intuitive response, “low-brow” art making with an Outsider Artist panache. Collage can be taught as an entreé, an invitation to students to use their hands with physical materials rather than the ubiquitous digital tools to move purposefully through ideas. Collage’s very nature of employing ephemera, ready-made content, and some quirky slap-dash approaches can liberate students concerned that the burden of “ART”-making is too much and poses an impediment. Assignments (such as the Making Meaning and Self-Portrait projects) that include content can be difficult to tackle, but the medium of collage seems to open options for every student to be self-expressive. These low-stakes explorations of foundational concepts help ease students into the practice of trial and error. 

This interactive workshop for educators (particularly high school teachers and college instructors) and homeschoolers shares a variety of proven strategies for integrating collage into a broad range of curricula. The first part of the workshop will share examples of assignments Miner and Pryor Geiger use in their classrooms (art and general humanities). The second half of the workshop will be dedicated to working with participants to identify areas of their curriculum that the integration of collage could enhance. 

Kolaj Institute is extending an invitation to all educators in the New Orleans area who may be interested in attending this workshop, but who are not attending Kolaj Fest New Orleans in general. To RSVP for this particular event, please register via this Eventbrite link.

The Ogden Museum is free to Louisiana Residents on Thursdays, Courtesy of The Helis Foundation, from 10AM to 5PM. There is no fee to join this workshop. 

Kolaj Fest New Orleans is a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, 7-11 June 2023. Visit the website to learn more, see an overview of the program, and register to attend.


grey and pink from “The Land Outside My Door” series by Barbara Miner
7″x9.5″; reclaimed photo of commercial chicken farm, hand-cut stencils, spray paint; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Barbara Miner is a tenured Professor and Chair in the Department of Art at the University of Toledo in Ohio. Her mixed media sculptures, installation works, and paintings, informed by the nexus of human/nature interaction, and the practice of meditative repetition, have been exhibited in 107 exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally. 

Daisy by Ashley Pryor Geiger
15″x15″; digital collage; 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Ashley Pryor Geiger is a photographer and digital artist specializing in collage. She resides on a small homestead farm in rural northwest Ohio. Her recent work is dedicated to capturing and preserving the largely forgotten rural landscapes of Fulton County, Ohio. Her work has been widely published and exhibited. Most recently her work appeared in “Mythical Landscape: Secrets of the Vale”, which was shown at MERZ Gallery as part of the 2022 Festival of Folklore in Sanquhar, Scotland before traveling to the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee. Ashley holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is an Associate Professor of the Humanities at the University of Toledo.