National Arts in Education Week is a Congressionally-designated celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. The field of arts education annually joins together to bring visibility to the cause, unify stakeholders with a shared message, and provide the tools and resources for local leaders to advance arts education in their communities. Find many ways to celebrate the week alongside 500+ other communities by visiting www.NationalArtsInEducationWeek.org for more information. Are you in for the celebration? If so, please fill out this form.
Dubem Okafor, Institute of Contemporary Art Teens Leader, performs at the Creative Youth Development Showcase hosted last year by Mass Cultural Council and EdVestors.
The Fourth International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC4) will be held in the U.S. for the first time in New York City September 13-15, 2018. [Previous conferences were held in Oslo (2012), Brisbane (2014), and Edinburgh (2016).] While the in-person conference is sold out, teaching artists are encouraged to attend digitally.
Digital conference goers will be able to participate online through a live stream of plenary sessions, curated interviews and conversations, along with access to special web-only content:
- Catch keynote presentations from Liz Lerman, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Aaron Huey.
- Join the first ITAC project as they create an historical timeline for the global field.
- Learn about and join the ITAC Collaborative that will continue between conferences.
- And sessions like:
- Let Our Light Shine: Songwriting and Goal Attainment for Homeless Men with Mental Illness
- Teaching Artists in International Development: Creating Safe Spaces for Challenging Power and Agency
- The Moth: True Stories from Teaching Artists and Their Students
- The Power of Parade to Build Community
- The Responsibility of 21st Century Artists in Communities
- Theatre and Community: Engaging, Responsive and Inclusive
Transforming Through Performing
- And more
All of these online sessions will be archived on the ITAC website.
Youth voice is essential to creative youth development. We’re asking youth leaders to speak to the power of culture as active agents in their own growth:
Hyde Square Task Force performs at the Creative Youth Development Showcase hosted last year by Mass Cultural Council and EdVestors.
“Can’t Stop” (acrylic paint and pencil on paper) is a piece by West End House Boys and Girls Club youth artist Aleynna Quinones.
On her inspiration for the piece, Aleynna says, “Malala is a well-known, current women’s and Muslim rights activist. The black censor bar over her mouth symbolizes her being silenced along with many other women and Muslims. The colorful geometric design in the background stands for Malala’s perseverance and strength.”
Name: Kahmal London
Organization: The Clubhouse Network
Title: Coordinator/ Program Manager
Artistic Genre: Fantasy Art
Years in the Field: 3 Months
What do you do at the Clubhouse Network?
At the Flagship Clubhouse, I work as a Coordinator who manages the Clubhouse space and all the materials present. Most of my time is spent encouraging the youth to be inspired and take ownership and responsibility for their work and desires. I work to help the youth take pride in the amazing work they create, and am passionate about helping them achieve their goals. I work with and discover new, innovative ways to be creative with the tools we have available, and share them with Clubhouse members and Mentors. I also perform outreach to various organizations within our community to attract more members to our space and increase productivity.
Why do you do what you do?
I was a member of the Clubhouse as a youth in high school and learned many different techniques on how to apply myself artistically. I was offered techniques and tools that I would not have had the chance to experiment with outside of the Clubhouse, such as Adobe Creative Suite. I work as a Coordinator to ensure that youth are offered the same experiences I had that they may not have at home. I aim to encourage and inspire youth to use their imaginations to be as creative as possible and apply that to their careers and educational goals.
What comes easiest to you in this work?
I’m a highly optimistic person who sees the potential in everyone I meet. I feel one of my greatest strengths is discovering creativity and helping it flourish in the best way possible. I love meeting new members, discovering what they like, and inspiring them to continue to build upon their work to take it levels above what they originally imagined.
What challenges you in this work?
Two challenges I’ve discovered so far are planning and community building. I have long term plans of how I imagine the Clubhouse to be, but could do better at creating short term steps on how to achieve these goals. As I am a relatively new Coordinator, there are many long-term members that have their own visions on how they see our space. With more time, I would like to know each and every member and formulate a way to respect everyone’s wishes and desires of how they operate in our creative space.
What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
The Clubhouse serves as a creative space for underserved youth who may not have the equipment needed to expand their imaginations. In my youth, I was one of those individuals who did not have the creative equipment available, but had a wild imagination. The Clubhouse inspired me to use my artistic talents to attend a four year college. It is very personal and important to me that we provide a space for youth to be creative for those who have never had the opportunity to do so. There are some very creative youth in my home neighborhood that could benefit from being a Clubhouse member and exploring their creativity. I am very passionate about my community acknowledging that we care about our youth’s dreams and aim to provide many opportunities for them to grow and know they are amazing!
How do you blow off steam?
Drinking water really helps to calm me down. I am patient person and rarely get angry, but if I do, I drink water. I also laugh a lot.
What do you create in your free time?
I illustrate many different concepts in my free time. I’m an animal lover so I practice drawing different animals often. I also grew up reading comic books and playing a lot of video games so many of my drawings may revolve around those. When I have time, I also animate my illustrations, sculpt with clay, and paint.
Whose work in the Creative Youth Development field do you admire and why?
I attended Artists For Humanity when I was younger and was mentored under Robb Gibbs. He is a big influence on my creative style and how to manage myself artistically. His work is inspiring not only for me, but many others I grew up with and has done a lot for our community. I aim to inspire others the way he inspired me to never give up on my passions.
Seen any good movies lately?
Avengers: Infinity War was a big deal to me and was everything I wanted out of it. I love Marvel comics so I watched it expecting a lot to be influenced off the comic series and was so excited to learn it was completely different. Very creative and well done.
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Small Canvas – Big Imagination
Continuing to be creative and inspiring!
“Unsteady” is a conceptual dance project created to address social issues present among young teens including bullying, body image, and cultural differences. Recipients of Mass Cultural Council’s 2018 Amplify grant, the piece was choreographed entirely by BalletRox dancers and performed at the Wake Up the Earth Festival this year in Jamaica Plain.
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering individuals through education, workforce development, and arts programs. She shares IBA’s holistic approach to youth development and how the arts unleash the collective power and voice of the young people they serve.
Angkor Dance Troupe performs at the Creative Youth Development Showcase hosted last year by Mass Cultural Council and EdVestors.