On Wednesday, April 25th, Moore College of Art & Design opened its annual end-of-year exhibition of work by the graduating senior class. The Cultural Alliance caught up with two Art Education majors to talk about how Moore has prepared them to be part of the next generation of arts educators, the work they plan to do after graduation, how art grows Philly, and why in-school arts programming is important for our students.
Cultural Alliance: What made you decide to major in Art Education?
Gladys Pasapera (center): At my old college it was just a job that I had applied for. I knew I had a knack for kids, I was always babysitting, and I thought it was going to be something like putting together a bunch of art projects, and when I realized that’s not exactly what it is, I became a lot more interested in the lesson plan development. But I think it really started my senior year of high school, when I was offered a library position to teach on Saturdays, and then I realized I love to do this, and I love hanging out with kids.
Lindsay Bauer (bottom): I began working at a school district [in Upper Dublin, Montgomery County] when I was fifteen. One day I encountered one of our student helpers while doing summer custodial work, and he said to me, “what are you going to school for?” And I said “I'm going for art,” and he was like, art is stupid, our art teacher stinks, it’s the worst thing ever; he really just had no idea why art was important. And I was like, oh no, you're going to be one of those people that wants to cut this program! I felt like that was the realization when I decided that I would like to get into art education and just really promote how wonderful an experience it is and how important it is for every student.
CA: What do you see as the value of arts education? What makes it important?
GP: For me I guess it's the fact that I grew up in an urban environment, and I always had this strive to do something with my life, and that strive pushed me out of where I grew up. Now I like working with kids that are growing up the way I did, and they don't see a way out, and my mission is to facilitate their way and their path on how to get there, and show them that there is a light at the other end of the tunnel even though they think that there's not.
Art makes them think outside the box. For example if they're not into science or math, I feel like they can get really free and explore more in the art room, and they can start making connections in the science, math and history classes. If they're learning about symmetry in pattern in math, and they don't get it in the math classroom with their academic teacher, but then when I revisit it with line design and symmetry and pattern as well in the art room, it's like oh, I already learned that, so they feel extremely intellectual because they already knew it, but now they're learning it better. So crossing the disciplines and integrating all of the academics into the art is really important, so that they make the connections and have more self-confidence in school, and then they'll be more confident at home and on the streets.
CA: Have you had any kids who have had “aha!” moments, where they say, “Oh, I get it now” because of an art lesson?
GP: When I took my special populations class [with autistic students] last semester, it was a little difficult sometimes, but then when they get what you're teaching to them, it's awesome.
LB: The last lesson that I taught [in special populations] was a superhero comic strip lesson, and I felt like it really helped the students to start to connect their art with words and telling stories. I felt like especially for special populations, it was important for them, especially the older kids who are always really quiet and who didn't like to interact with one another or even answer questions. So to get them to have a conversation through their artwork, it was very successful and exciting, actually. I also had them do a graffiti art project, where I made stencils and all of them had to go up to the wall as a group, and stencil together. They worked really well. Students who didn't like getting close to each other were bumping arms.
CA: What do you plan to do with your degree once you graduate?
LB: I'm hoping to move up in the school district that I work at, and ideally I would like to work with high school students, who I will be student teaching with in the fall. But through lab practicum, the experience that Moore gave me, I found that I wouldn't mind working with the younger kids as much as I thought I would, they were just a joy, so I would really take any position in that school district.
CA: Does Moore have you do a range of ages over your practicum, or do you just get assigned to one?
GP: We get assigned to the one that we're least comfortable with [or one we don't have experience with]. For me it was middle school. I really enjoy high school and I really enjoy the little kids, but middle school is the hormonal age. So it's like they act like high schoolers, and I don't want to treat them like elementary school students, because I know their mentality from the street life and where they're from, and it’s so beyond their grade level. So that’s the tricky one, but I thought it was great.
CA: Philadelphia has a pretty heavy arts and culture scene, and then there's also a very problematic and challenging school system. Do you feel like either being part of the art scene here, or having the experience of working in Philly schools, has better equipped you for the work you want to do?
GP: For me, yes, because [for my student teaching] I chose a school in Kensington, for the Literacy Through Photography program. It's a program that was started here at Moore, where kids combine the art of taking photographs and then writing their own stories about them, or writing onto the photograph--so somehow incorporating writing and reading, which is something that normally fifth and sixth graders really hate to do. But if they're actually writing about their own work and they're taking the photographs, they can make the story and connect literacy with art, and it’s amazing, and the work that comes out is so honest.
So I chose that school because of that partnership with Moore, but then I realized that I didn't even get to teach much photography at all, because we were so busy with behavior management. Which I'm ok with, because that's the part that I needed the most help in. It definitely helped me toughen up, because these are the kids that I want to work with. And I realized there's so much more, and you learn to see past that stereotype that everyone gives urban communities, so it definitely made me stronger and made me want to continue working with this type of population.
CA: Did you see yourself making an impact on the kids, or your lessons making an impact?
GP: The neighborhood of North Kensington has become more and more dangerous, and the energy is definitely reflecting on the kids. I tried to bring street culture into the art room [in a positive way], and I developed this sneaker lesson where the kids got to design their own custom sneakers. It was based off of the sneakers with Michael Basquiat’s paintings which Reebok designed. When I showed them that, they were amazed and they were like, “Whoa, do we get to design our own?” So I got all these Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Pumas templates, and the kids were going crazy over them, and they took their time and worked weeks and weeks to design different things, and they all made their own custom designs based off of an artwork that they chose. So like Reebok chose Basquiat, they got to choose a Van Gogh, or a Keith Haring piece, or a Lichtenstein piece. It really kept them engaged.
CA: Is there anything about the arts education program at Moore that you feel is really special?
LB: I felt like getting into the special needs and the lab practicum class for the entire semester was really beneficial, because you got to work with special needs students and also got to work with an age group that you're uncomfortable with. We also had a community class where we worked with Greenfield Elementary School, which is right around the corner from Moore, and I felt like I had a good experience with seeing teachers and other classes in Philadelphia. Moore also has you do a lot of classroom observations, and they require you to do a certain amount of hours in the city, and with different grade levels, so they really prepare you and just get you out there to experience different classrooms and different environments.
GP: Moore gave me a scholarship to travel! I ended up going to Peru for nine weeks. I applied for a leadership scholarship, and I wanted to work in a shantytown in Peru, in the slums right outside the capital city. I worked with kids and did art projects with them, and it was such a different [cultural experience].
What attracts today’s philanthropic investors? They look for outcomes, not outputs; for organizations with focus and sustainability. Investors seek engaged partners who help them create change.
Two large and well-respected organizations — the Smithsonian Institution and the William Penn Foundation — have recently completed long-range plans that take on complex issues and acknowledge the critical need for collaboration and additional investments. As the world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian knows that the support of the federal government is not sufficient to realize the Institution’s vision for the 21st century. Similarly, at the William Penn Foundation, even a significant increase in its endowment cannot alone achieve its goals for the region.
Join Virginia Clark, the Smithsonian's Director of Advancement and Philanthropic Giving; Jeremy Nowak, President of the William Penn Foundation; and Carol Thomson, President of SteegeThomson Communications, for a panel moderated by Chris Satullo, WHYY's Vice President of News and Civic Dialogue, as they share their perspectives on the rapidly changing world of philanthropy.
“Seeing the Stage Through Our Eyes” is an exciting new partnership between Walnut Street Theatre and The Philadelphia Inquirer developed with the support of 2010-2011 Innovation Grant. The overall goal of this comprehensive, theatre-based writing program is to engage teenagers and their parents in the artistic work of the Walnut by creating a deep and meaningful shared cultural experience for both student and adult alike.
Through a competitive application process, 100 local students (grades 9-12) from eleven counties in three states were selected to participate in the “Seeing the Stage Through Our Eyes” Program. Each participant received a pair of subscriptions seats to attend the Walnut’s five 2010-2011 Mainstage productions along with a parent, guardian or adult mentor. After seeing each show the students submitted a review or feature article responding to each production. A limited number of articles were selected to appear on the Walnut’s website and published in full-run and student editions of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Throughout the season, both students and adults attended a variety of project-related enrichment events including a kick-off reception and panel discussion with theatre critics from The Philadelphia Inquirer, a backstage tour of the Walnut, and a final feedback session and awards ceremony. Finally, students were provided with educational study guides before attending each show and encourage to participate in an online blog on the program’s website.
Though this was initially intended to be a one-time program, “Seeing the Stage Through Our Eyes” was tremendously successful in its inaugural year. In the tradition of the Walnut’s commitment to outstanding education programming, the theatre’s Senior Management decided to continue a scaled-back version of the program without outside funding for the 2011-2012 season. It is our hope that we will be able to attract both institutional and individual funders to help fully restore this important and meaningful program in future seasons.
We all have areas of strengths and weaknesses; however, if we have no self-awareness and do not seek the proper training, we limit our ability to be effective messengers, which in turn can affect our (and our organization’s) credibility. During this session we will explore ways you can write or speak your message more clearly. Join the Catalyst Center and Esther Hughes of Sister's U for this informative session. Due to the generous support of MileStone Bank, this session is being offered free of charge. Space is limited.
As we enter a new era driven by the rapid evolution of technology, museum operations and management will be forced to adapt while at the same time balancing traditional roles as collection and preservation institutions.
The Future of Museums, featuring Brent Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will examine prospects and offer recommendations for successful museum management in the 21st Century. The talk, organized by Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Glass will lead a discussion on the role of museums in this new era, what partnerships, and strategic advantages and opportunities are necessary to remain effective and, most importantly, how do museums continue in their traditional role as research institutions when faced with dwindling economic resources.
As director of the National Museum of American History, Glass led a two-year, $87 million renovation and development of 20 new exhibitions for the 2008 reopening, including the major exhibitions on The Star-Spangled Banner; Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life and On the Water: Stories from Maritime America, and 80 public programs and 2,500 theater performances. Since 2008, more than 13 million people visited the Institution, a 50% increase over previous years and the Museum’s web site has an additional 8 million visitors.
The Moore College of Art and Design has always been dedicated to preparing women for careers, but it hasn’t always required quite so many Macs. As technology has rapidly advanced over the last couple of decades, Moore has had to quickly revamp its equipment and its curriculum to reconcile it’s old mission with the new creative economy.
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Register now for the upcoming Gretchen Hupfel Symposium at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA) on the Wilmington Riverfront, March 23rd and 24th!
Keynote speaker, Marshall Brown, professor of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, will discuss the roles of futurism, scenario planning, and uncertainty in the production of space. Other speakers will include DCCA curators, Maiza Hixson and J. Susan Isaacs, and a number of local Philadelphia artists featured in current DCCA exhibitions.
Learn more and reserve your spot online at http://www.thedcca.org/ghsymposium
The following testimony was presented by Cultural Alliance President Tom Kaiden to Philadelphia City Council's Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs on Monday, March 5th, 2012:
Good afternoon Councilwoman Bass and members of City Council. Thank you for the privilege of speaking to you about culture’s impact on our city.
My name is Tom Kaiden, and I’m the President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The Alliance represents 411 museums, theaters, libraries and cultural organizations, nearly 300 of them right here in the City of Philadelphia.
As you know, the City of Philadelphia and the cultural sector have a longstanding and productive partnership. Council and successive mayors have leveraged our vital cultural community and assets to spur economic development, support public education, and to tackle Philadelphia’s most pressing social challenges.
Cultural Alliance members are among the city’s most dedicated civic leaders, and commit their time and resources to programs that help tackle issues around blight, violence, recidivism, and neighborhood safety.
But, perhaps there is no single issue that is as important to our community as education. That is because, we know that arts and cultural are crucial to the development of our children, their success in the classroom, and to their future prosperity.
Studies have shown us that instruction in arts and music improves performance across subject areas including reading and math. An education strong on creativity fosters innovation and decreases drop-out rates. When we teach to the test, our students tune out. When we teach to their imaginations, they become inspired and they pass the test.
Our museums, theaters, libraries and community centers are the region’s cultural classroom. There are 1.7 million visits by school children to our member organizations. More than 30,000 visits are made by school groups. That’s not 30,000 kids, but 30,000 groups of kids. And, Alliance members make an additional 2,700 cultural visits to area schools, bringing culture right into the class room.
Cultural Alliance Member organizations hold classes in their facilities and place teachers and artists in classrooms throughout the district.
Through their Rock Reach program, the Rock School for Dance Education runs a 36 week residency in Title I schools throughout the district. They send faculty to teach dance, ballet, urban tap and jazz dance. For some of these cash-strapped schools, this is their phys-ed program. The Rock School also offers City Dance, a program for promising low income dance students. Students maintain high grades, and in return they receive free instruction at one of the country’s leading dance academies up until the age of 18. How about that for an incentive to graduate?
Another of our members, Philadelphia Young Playwrights sends teaching artists and theater professionals to work with school teachers to develop programs that inspire students’ literacy, learning and creativity. Young Playwrights staff provides classroom playwriting workshops and run in-school mini-festivals. One program alumni, Quiara Alegría Hudes, won their 1993 Annual Festival. She’s gone on to be nominated for a Tony for the Broadway musical “In the Heights” and is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
And it isn’t just about the arts, our cultural members include the region’s top science museums and learning centers. Through their Women in Natural Science program the Academy of Natural Sciences provides young women with a uniquely nurturing and academically rigorous environment where they can gather with like-minded friends and explore their love of science. The program is a tremendous success–100% of their students graduate high school and over 96% attend college!
And these are just a few examples. We know from a survey of our members that at least 65 run educational programs, an additional 37 have programs focused on child development and 30 run programs tackling truancy.
Cultural organizations are also committed to affordable access. Our 2011 Portfolio report (which is provided with this testimony) shows that more than half of all visits to culture are free. And when there is a charge, it’s around $15, less than one-third the actual cost of production.
That’s how we’re making sure that everyone in our city, not just the privileged, have access to the opportunity, education and inspiration that culture provides. Furthermore, the Alliance is collaborating with ArtsRising and PhillyRising to help make students and parents more aware of the programs offered by our members. And, the Alliance is now working to fund a Teen Pass program that will give Philadelphia high schoolers free access to city museums.
Just as arts and culture played a key part of Philadelphia’s Renaissance, it continues to be crucial to our city’s future, and to the future of our children.
I’d like to conclude by thanking City Council for its ongoing support of arts and culture through the Cultural Fund, the One Percent for Art program, Mural Arts, and City owned institutions. You have committed to making Philadelphia a world-class cultural community. It is an important investment that is paying real dividends for all our citizens every day.
Thank you for your time today and for your continued investment in our city’s cultural vibrancy. I look forward to continuing to work with the committee and the city to broaden our member programs and collaborations so that we can continue to offer creative opportunities to all the children of our city.