BECAUSE today my beautiful students created GOLD I tell you. I watched young men and women (who are not considered by the system to be strong students) shine. MsPallavi Rana and I watched them with tears in our eyes show their beautiful drawings and visual art with pride. I saw their other teachers look at the art- a mixture of collage, drawing, painting, and writing with pride. It was a great day to be a teaching artist.
This summer Story Tapestries had an opportunity to work with the same set of students for 20 days…..THIS is a rarity in our work. We often come in, teach and perform for short periods of time. OR we get to share the tools of the arts with educators through professional development workshops. BUT this July 2014, we had our own classroom full of eager 4th and 5th graders ready to learn. Our focus was not performing, but creating visual art. We used pencils, sequins, markers, collage paper, colored pencils, watercolors, pastels, and yarn. The students drew pictures, created designs, wrote poetry, and shared their story through art.
MOST importantly: They shared themselves. At first, we heard this time and time again….Am I doing it right? Can I do this? Are we allowed to use ……. on our art?? Our answer: Do you think you are doing it right? Do you think that would balance out your picture, your words? OUR goal was to EMPOWER them to make decisions, to show them that they CAN do it. Our job was to guide them. We saw many of our students grow into powerful young adults who believe in themselves, who believe that they have the ability to make the right decision for them, who believe that they are capable, intelligent humans. All I have to say now is…. these 60 youth know what they want, know what they believe and have the skills to make it happen.