“A social justice lens can focus goals in required art courses at any level by examining the reasons and ways that artists create art, influence others, and actively engage social problems through art in communities.” — Armon J., Ortega T., and Uhrmacher, P. The Significance of Self-Portraits: Making Connections through Monotype Prints in Letres y Arte. Art Education. November 2009
This quote by Armon, Ortega and Uhrmacher captures the important role art plays in enlivening discourse, action and reflection around social justice issues. By looking at artists who explore injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, displacement, immigration and identity, students engage in, express and formulate their own perspectives about themselves and the issues. Through viewing art, discussing, de-constructing, making and critiquing, students become producers of their own meaning, and enter into the vital understanding that their voice matters.
In her 2009 Lowenfeld Lecture Art Education for Democratic Life, Olivia Gude explains why art education is one of the BEST arenas for the development of self and active citizenship. By telling their own stories and expressing themselves in artistic and metaphoric ways—students create self and thus, positively project themselves into social space. Who am I and how do I fit into this world of complex social issues (many of which are listed above)? The creation of self allows students to think deeply about issues that concern them, achieving a heightened sense of self-awareness and motivation to communicate ideas with peers and the community. Furthermore, by using creative strategies to solve problems, students become active participants in their quest to understand their own power in the contemporary web of social, political, intellectual, and cultural ideas, norms, contradictions, pitfalls and possibilities. Simply put, arts education helps young people achieve a sense of agency to shape their world and be active in it.
The work you are doing is helping young people to build self. We are now almost 2 months into the semester and we need to hear from you! How is it going? What are you learning?
On our group blog: Please read Gude’s article, The 2009 Lowenfeld Lecture (it sings) and write a short reflection in the comment section before Friday, March 5th. A possible question to consider: By working with youth/college mentors: how might your students gain a nugget toward heightened sense of self-awareness and engaged citizenry?
On your blog: Post at least three photos to your course blog and reflect on what you’ve learned and what your students have learned so far. Please also mention specific examples of how you are using Studio Habits of Mind. Also feel free to mention your ‘content expert’, field trips, warm ups, discussion prompts or readings that might interest your colleagues.
I’ll be beginning site visits next week, and I look forward to checking in with you in person. (But I still need to see/hear from you online. Peace:)
Lauren Elder, Mission High Tuesday February 23
Aimee Phan, O’Connell Tuesday, March 2
Virginia Jardim, Peralta Hacienda Wed., March 3
Trena Noval, Emery Secondary Tuesday March 9
Amana Harris/Naema Ray, Claremont Middle TBD