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Where is the Creativity in our Schools?


Inside the Sculptors Studio

Baltimore’s public schools are pockmarked with empty classrooms; the students who haven’t yet fled the district aren’t getting much arts instruction. Meanwhile, the city’s young artists, with talent and enthusiasm to spare, struggle to pay for studio space.

Artist Dana Reifler Amato and architect Peter Doo, who were charged with dreaming up a pie-in-the-sky project to serve the city, see an obvious solution here: Give vacant school space to artists in exchange for art instruction. “How inspirational would it be for students to be able to see or hear work being created in the moment? It would be an entirely different experience than simply taking an art class with an art teacher,” write Amato and Doo in Urbanite (March 2008).

The pair teamed up for the Urbanite Project, sponsored for two years running by Urbanite magazine a zesty, free rag that reports on culture and people in Baltimore. Another magazine in my cadre of “Shit I Like”. Their website is a little sparse but the magazine is worth an in depth perusing.

I really like the idea of giving artists gallery space in public schools and places accessible to public schools. I substitute teach and i have subbed on multiple occasions for art classes. One time the kids were supposed to be doing graffiti inspired pieces and the kids had not even worked on their own “tags”, i was sad. But all of this to say, Art education, like the rest of education has been sterilized. Getting active artists into the classroom is a way to invigorate the curriculum, excite the kids and actually SHOW them that you can develop your own style, not everyone is BORN as an artist and finding your outlet takes a little dedication and searching.

I’m sure a lot of art teachers are active in their local art communities but i’m sure that mot of them, like little miss suzie white bread with her B.A. in Fine Arts from lower-mid-western-nowhere U teaching somewhere in the high plains is probably not doing much career development as an actual artist out side of her teaching duty.

We need artists to be teaching art just as we need writers to be teaching english and musicians inside of the band. To show the administrators and legislators that reading Hamlet in 12th grade is no longer and was probably never relevant to anything 99% of engaged (or disengaged) high school seniors are interested in….

I invite any and all educators out there to innovate in the classroom or else it will look like this…
scenes to avoid
My two cents…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/08/2010 16:12

    I love it! Its a win win. I myself am sometimes put off by teaching in fear of not having time to work on outside projects, taking a new approach to art education and still keeping an immediate creative environment all at the same time. Just this past week at Apache, the featured artist gave the his great advice to dozens of other artist and photographers that becoming an art teacher while being an artist can never work and is not the move to make. I thought it was sad. Why wouldnt a artist want to contribute to the very outlets that nurtured their intrests in the arts?This would definatly be an incentive toward teaching

  2. 01/09/2010 12:29

    why did the guy say that? how can it NEVER work? what profession did he suggest? because being jobless isn’t the move either. i think that comment is more a critique on art teachers not being committed artists rather than committed artists being anything else.

    i feel like teaching gives me more time than A LOT of other jobs i have had. It’s not as demanding and more rewarding than working at the apple store or best buy.

    i just don’t think encouraging creative smart capable people not to be teachers is a good idea.

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