Thursday, May 07, 2015

No Teacher Left Behind

The Painting I did was of a studnets, "NATE" who I have been mentoring the last four months.--Oil, Rice, Gesso, pastels on wood
One of the most phenomenal shows that I was blessed to play a part of this year was the No Teacher Left Behind Show at Homewood Gallery Studios. This show allowed for teachers to explore the possibilities of the how to teaching with passion when the boundaries and barriers at placed by politicians whom are usually disconnected form education and the process of it. I was fortunate to work with Christina Benz who is not only a teacher/advocate and artist herself (our world is small). Here is sample of the call for tis show that went out:



The education of our children has been controversial since Aristotle’s time and probably before. Concern for, awareness of, AND community concern for the plight of teachers has been as serious a concern but has received less, and often little or no, attention.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind law since its 2001 reauthorization, legislation which has been in effect in one form or another since the 1960s, but was thrust into the hotbed of disagreement in the early 2000s, has placed an inordinate burden on teachers. The law, perhaps with the best of intentions for our children’s welfare and learning, has created an almost untenable situation for teachers who are required to spend inordinate amounts time documenting how they are following the law’s precepts. The sad result is these dedicated teachers have little or no time to create and sustain meaningful, nurturing relationships with their students.

If you are a teaching artist, or an artist/teacher, and you would like to submit work addressing this disparity, please consider an exhibition being planned for March 2015 at Homewood Studios in North Minneapolis.

Already created work, (in any medium), or new work, (also in any medium), which addresses how NCLB has affected you as an artist/teacher is eligible. Anyone working in public education, including charter schools, in any school district, may apply.

Inspiration for this exhibition
Christina Benz, six-year art teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools, (Washburn High School), brought the idea for this exhibition to us with an installation informed by the question the show proposes. After an initial meeting with her we became quite interested in mounting a show exposing and exploring this issue. In a recent e-mail Christina invited other artists to participate:

This past year I've been part of Minneapolis Teachers Institute and completed my fellowship at the U of MN this spring. My presentation was about the constraints I face as an art educator under NCLB. So I created a three part installation piece including photographs, school desks, and a video. I've attached one part of my project so you have a better understanding of my project. As a result George from Homewood Studios is interested in my project and I have a reserved a few weeks in March to display my visual art work. I am really interested in opening this space up to other visual art teachers in the district and even expanding it to other district art teachers to give them a space, voice and to create a piece using the same theme I was given for my fellowship.

The show itself was amazing experience, the house was packed full of educators and artist and the connected ones. This exhibition was the sliding post for some other work that I have been working on as well dealing with community, and education.
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