"What do you think an artist is? ...[s]he is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping [themselves] completely in their image."
I believe education to be one of the few institutions truly capable of changing the world. When a student walks into a classroom they are presented with the opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow. As facilitators of the knowledge necessary to achieve this transformation, teachers are imparted the responsibility of committing themselves to understanding the multifaceted nature of each student, all the while compelling them to conceptualize endless creative possibilities. Together, students and teachers can imagine a new future for this world—a future we have the power to enact with every subsequent generation that passes through our doors. Acknowledging this limitless potential, I strive to enable my students to learn how to think critically about current issues through innovative art-making, enabling them to become active, empathetic global citizens.
An art classroom is a place of discovery; there is no “right” or “wrong” way to explore. As such, my students play a crucial role in the development of curriculum themes. Together we analyze content that is immediate, relevant, and applicable to students’ lives. This content is then embedded into the world of art where students get messy, take chances, and make mistakes. Art becomes our tool, our medium, of exploration. It allows us to expressively rip open complicated issues in a manner that is meaningful to every student.
In exploring this world, students inevitably realize that their unique voices all have something important to say. At its core, the arts provide an unparalleled opportunity for students to discover who they are, what matters to them, and what they have to contribute back to their communities. In the process of making such discoveries, my students are challenged to think about the contexts of their lives and recognize that they don’t exist within a vacuum. Rather, their lives are all interconnected through a vast web of knowledge, resources, experiences, and passions. In recognizing these threads we are able to better understand our place in and value to society.
With the assistance of contemporary works by artists from all walks of life, my students unearth ways in which art-making can change the world. Through research, collaboration, reflection, and expression my students learn what it means to be a member of the human race. They come to understand why they matter and recognize actions they can take to realize their fullest potentials. Our work, our process, and our art thus shapes how we choose to fulfill our roles as global citizens.