Welcome back to my You and the World (YATW) blog trilogy of which this post marks the final installment (previous posts include an introduction to my topic, and an original research post, for which I interviewed the principal of a local arts school). As a culmination of our research, the members of our English class each did an “Agent of Change” project within our communities to help change or raise awareness about our issue.
I noticed that around our school, there were examples all around of incredible, arts-related work in not only in arts classes, but in all of the subjects. Some great examples of such work are many of the senior class’ “capstones”- the year long project that they devote their time to during their last year at Science Leadership Academy. These arts capstones are wonderful cases of how a good arts education can lead to excellent creative thinking and creative application skills that serve people, not only children, in their work, their social relations, and their daily lives. The issue that I saw repeated over and over was that these superb projects were overlooked by the wider community of SLA and those who visit the school. I decided that for my agent of change project I would call to the attention of the SLA community the amazing work of these creative young people, and show all who passed by my listings (on a poster located in the 3rd floor hallway-called the “ballroom”) the fruit of an education saturated with the arts.
A full view of the my 3rd floor setup: the title- "Corridor of Creativity", and the four sections- "Art", "Music", "Film", and "More", as well as an empty space directly under the title for additions to the wall.
This project was very difficult for me, as I did not find myself able to meet the original deadline for the agent of change work itself. I also ran into the problem of having to switch my idea midway. My original plan was to host a “variety show” of sorts for SLA in which we could display a lot of the talent- especially performanced based artistic talent- that lay hidden within our school. The obstacle I faced with this was my own incoordination, as I was unaware of another “spring showcase” being held at the time. After a conversation with my teacher, Ms. Dunn (who teaches seniors in addition to freshmen), she noted how so few of the arts-related capstone projects were given the attention they deserved, which led to the idea of the “Corridor of Creativity”. I felt during this project a sense of satisfaction, knowing that people would see and read my wall of talent as they shuffled along during the school week. Knowing that I have educated people, although only a fraction of the population, about the arts that are happening around them, has made me realize that a change, if only a change in awareness, can lead people to doors that otherwise would not be opened. Having worked with only a handful of people in my school, I already have been invited to a movie screening for a budding cinematographer (#Philed by Danielle Little, Dalena Bui, and Deshawn McLeod), am promised an autograph from a R&B artist beginning her career (Jordan Hairston), and have seen snippets of an action comic by Jovan Lewis, among others. I had no idea that these incredible projects even existed, and am so glad to have been able to expose myself to them, and in turn expose others to the inconceivable amount of talent present at Science Leadership Academy.
A closeup photo of the "Art" section of the wall, and though the photographs make it difficult to see, there are multiple pieces of artwork created by different students.
Even with all of my excitement about the success of my project, I feel as though there were many areas in which I could have done better. My process for organizing the Agent of Change project was very haphazard, and had I put forth more effort in right as we were assigned the project, I am sure that I would have been able to make my project all the more exciting and interactive. I also feel as though I would have been able to collect more samples of arts-related projects to more thoroughly add to my own knowledge of the arts happening around the school, and to have been able to incorporate that knowledge into my project. In addition to that, I sense that this project could have been improved (aesthetically and in terms of content) by a greater range of photographs and projects. I was lacking in that area, and know that I could have been more on top of taking photographs of the projects to better display them to the school.
The "More" section of the corridor, which contained examples of the arts-realated work that was integrated into the core curriculum of SLA, such as the to-scale buildings in Geometry or the DNA representations in Science.
In regards to furthering my research, I mainly focused on my Agent of Change work, but I did come across an article that peaked my attention: National Arts in Education Week. I hadn’t known that in July of 2010, the House of Representatives passed a resolution stating that every second week in September would be designated “National Arts in Education Week”. Having discovered this, I urge everyone reading this (especially those affiliated with schools) to promote this week, and to spread the word!
I would like to acknowledge those who assisted me in the creation and finalization of this project. First and foremost, I would like to thank Ms. Dunn, who not only supported me in creating my idea, but was understanding of the fact that I was not able to meet the original deadline. I would also like to thank my mother and cousin for the countless hours spent assisting me to cut out letters, as well as my classmates Isabel Medlock, Imani Weeks, Liam Hart, and Xavier Carroll. They were crucial in getting the "corridor" up and running.
Despite the fact that this project is coming to a close, the work that needs to be done in order to raise the level of arts in our school’s education to a standard that will benefit our children. My “Agent of Change” work has in no way solved the issue of lack of arts education that so plagues school districts around the country, and though my work with “You and the World” is done, my work as a citizen of the world has only begun. I plan to work towards a greater change to resolve this issue in as many ways as possible, such as promoting “National Arts in Education Week” at SLA, and hopefully organizing an “arts club” of sorts, as well as continuing to update my “Wall of Artistic Wonder” with new projects (I have already consulted with the engineering and robotics teacher, Mr. VanKouwenberg about possibly adding an interactive or mechanical element). I leave you with not a resolution, but a beginning; a call to action. Throughout my blog posts, there are various links that can be used to help spread awareness about a topic that is important to the betterment of all of the children and youth of our country and the world. Check them out! Contact the names mentioned! Reach out within your own communities! I thank you, and attach some additional links below.
A link to the Google Doc containing all of the photos from my project: