By Raziyah Eure
May 27, 2016
Recently I attended my first Face to Face Conference. Like anyone who is attending something for the first time, I was filled with a little anxiety not knowing what to expect. For those who may not know Face to Face is a conference centered on Arts Education. After attending my first break out session, I went to the first keynote address. The keynote speaker was Mark Bamuthi Joseph. He was someone I’d never heard of but, trust me, after reading this you’ll want to seek out his work.
Joseph is an artist, performer, poet, curator, and educator, whose primary focus is on social action and community revitalization. He is the Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. He is also the founding program director of the nonprofit Youth Speaks, as well as the Co-Founder of Life is Living. They have a series of one-day festivals that, through the use of Hip-Hop, focuses on environmental action. He is also a recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, the winner of the 2011 Alpert Award in theater, the recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and the list goes on and on and on.
But his accolades aren’t what caught my eye, but what he does for a living. From my understanding he asks questions to deconstruct social issues, and centers his programs on answering these questions. This enticed me because I am person who likes to ask these very broad and thoughtful questions. I never would have thought that one could create a successful program based on answering questions. This past year, his group studied and answered the questions:
“Can we design freedom?”
“What does equality look like?”
These are questions that really make you stop and think about our community: What are we creating, and what are we allowing to continue the cycle in the world? This is directly connected to many of the social issues going on in Black communities. As a person of color, it is amazing to hear that there is a constant conversation going on.
At the conference he asked the audience questions like:
“What if, besides genes, we could pass down freedom?”
“How is my labor creating the culture I want to see?”
“What are the two things I love to do that would be essential to my freedom design?”
It was funny because he spoke of a center he had which was called The Center for Art and Doing Something About It, and it amazes me because a lot of times we complain about issues, but we don’t actually do something about it. Regardless, he really got the conversation going at this event and I was more than happy that I got to be a part of it.
His work is really inspiring and this is only a snippet of what he does. The world needs more people like him who use the arts to create dialogue and teach others. Without people like him, people will continue to be ignorant of the reality of a lot of social issues that happen in their own community.
These are videos of his spoken word pieces, only one of his many talents.
By Intern, Raziyah Eure
May 20, 2016
About a month ago I had the opportunity to attend my very first Face to Face Conference, which is sponsored by Arts in Education Roundtable. This conference was created to gather people who believe in the importance of Arts Education, it’s power, and to have conversations about everything it entails. This being my first time being exposed to a large mass who’s lives revolve around advocating and teaching arts, I have to say it was a bit intimidating since I haven’t had as much experience in this field of work. Like any conference, there were two days of breakout sessions, as well as keynote speakers, and you can’t forget food. There were also a few short film screenings made by students. One showed the difficulty of being an immigrant student. Another showed the harsh reality of bullying and how a young boy with a stutter is affected by it. They had sessions ranging from “How to Create Advocacy Programs”, “How to DIY”, “How to make your presence known on Social Media”, reviewing the new arts core standards, the conversation surrounding how we create a diverse society, and so many more interesting topics.
My time spent at the Face to Face conference was one that was filled with learning and being surrounded by some pretty amazing people that are doing awesome things to build a better community within the arts. They had a host of different opportunities in the city listed. During the conference they had a “Making Art Together” station where there was a special art installation piece that all participants at the conference could add to. It was guided by the Staten Island Children’s Museum, and inspired by the work an artist, El Anatsui. The piece consisted of little foil pieces that you could manipulate, color, or draw on.
From the conference, I’ve learned the importance of advocating for something you believe in. Here some important tools I took away from the conference when it comes to advocating that I think are useful for everyone
- You have to make sure that you are well connected with others
- You have to have strategic planning to create concrete change
- It is important that you build the community first because that’s where the real change begins
- You have to get people to believe in what your advocating for you and you can do this by showing how it affects their life
- You need to be all inclusive of the community you serving and make sure you are inviting everyone into what you are doing to ensure you have others to speak positively on the programs you are creating
- You need to build personal relationships with others, its not always about what others can give you
- Most importantly you need to continue the conversation on what you are fighting for so that it gets continued exposure
This advice can help any one that wants to have not only a successful non-profit but a successful business. Even if you aren’t someone who is an advocate of Arts Education its important that you always take the time out to experience different cultures like the arts community because you’ll be surprised what you can learn.
By Intern, Raziyah Eure
April 15, 2016
Music is a gateway that helps us all connect to each other but it can also used to keep students engaged. In arts education we are always looking for new ways to teach and learn. FMA’s award-wining program has proved that anything is possible with the use of music to teach students STEM.
As the growing number of jobs in the fields of technology, science, engineering, and math rise, there seems to be a decline in student interest. To combat this Honeywell and NASA decided to come together and create FMA Live! to inspire middle school students to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and careers. This program addresses Forces and Motion learning objectives outlined by the Next Generation Science Education Standards for students in grades 5-8.
FMA Live host an interactive show called Forces in Motion. It is one of the first traveling hip hop concerts that teaches the Newton’s Universal Law of Gravity and Three Laws of Motion. This show’s concept was named after Newton’s second law of motion, which is force equals mass times acceleration. They explore how studying Newton and physics can be seen in everyday life.
This popular show incorporates hip-hop music and dancers with student volunteers and on stage, interactive science experiments. “FMA hosts a big hip-hop concert with choreography, cool videos, giant sticky walls, extreme wrestlers, and the “Man Behind the Motion: Sir Isaac Newton.”
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Honeywell sponsor the production. FMA tours the country for 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring. Since the program’s creation in 2004, the FMA Live! cast has performed before 455,000 students in more than 1,150 schools in 48 states, as well as Mexico and Canada.
If the concert wasn’t enough FMA Live! also features an online “Teachers Lounge” that hosts the National Service Standards-based teaching resources, downloadable streaming videos, music from the show, and a comprehensive educational guide with lesson plans. This creates the opportunity for teachers to continue to incorporate a fun interactive way of learning beyond the concert.
It is the only nationally touring multi-media, science education production of its kind, and great motivation to teach kids and let them know that there are more options out there.
March 1, 2016
Arts For All is thrilled to welcome new Development Associate, Barbara Matovu. Recently our intern, Raziyah Eure, sat down to interview Barbara. You can read the interview below.
RE: Tell me a little about yourself.
BM:My name is Barbara. I was raised in North Carolina. I have one sister. My parents actually initially came to America from Uganda to go to college, but with time they decided to stay here and raise a family. Once during my Junior year of college I studied abroad in Spain. This was my first time experiencing real independence, which still helps me today with living in New York. It gave me the confidence to be able to navigate in new and unfamiliar place
RE: What is your connection with arts
BM:Ever since high school, I have been doing plays, and when I found out you could study theater in college I thought it would be something fun to do. I would later get a BA in Drama from the University of Greensboro in North Carolina.
RE: Why do you feel arts education is important?
BM: I think it is another way for people to learn and express themselves. I think it really helps when non-arts classes use artistic approaches to teach things to the class. Like once I had a history class and my teacher had us act out a war scene to better grasp the concept.
RE: What are two words that describe you? Why do you feel those best describe you?
BM: I am a detailed oriented and open person. Because I am detailed oriented, I am able to go deeper into things. Therefore, I start with very broad concepts and narrow them down. It is like how a scientist narrows things down to an atom. Being an open person allows me to be able to see things from different points of view.
RE: What are some of your hobbies?
BM: I self proclaimed myself the “History Nerd” because one day I was flipping through the channels and I would always miss this documentary series on all of the U.S. Presidents that I wanted to watch. So I decided in 2010 to read biographies on all of the Presidents. I just finished one on Woodrow Wilson, which puts me a little pass the halfway mark.
RE: What is your background in work?
BM: After college, I had done a job with a children’s theater, which used theater to teach students about substance abuse. I later moved to New York where I would search for similar teaching artist positions where I could either teach theater or use theater to discuss topics.
RE: Why do you feel Arts for All was a good fit for you?
BM: I believe Arts for All is a good fit for me because it fulfills the part of me that believes everyone should have access to education. I also enjoy the administration side, which involves fundraising. This job ultimately fulfills two parts of me and that is my artistic side, which is carried out through our arts programs, and my logical side, which allows me to work through things on the administration side to make sure we are fulfilling our goals.
RE: What is the primary thing you believe you have to offer to help this non-profit organization grow?
BM: I have development experience and also experience as a teaching artist. This allows me to be able to speak to the type of work we are doing in this organization and see what is important for the teachers and what need to be done in the classroom.
By Intern, Raziyah Eure
February 19th, 2016
Arts and Education will always be something that is important in fostering the imagination of young children, so this week I would like to shine a light on the Ron Clark Academy, which is based in Southeast Atlanta, Georgia. In the past few months this school has been highly covered by news outlets because of their video “Do it like me Challenge” caught wind, blew up the Internet, and became an instant sensation.
The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a non-profit middle school catering to grades 5th-8th students, who represent various socio- economic and academic backgrounds and communities, from the surrounding areas. It was co- founded by Ron Clark and Kim Bearden in Fall 2007. Clark’s main goal was to be able to create the best possible learning experience for children, so that they actually enjoy going to school, while also getting the education they deserve.
Ron Clark had a passion for teaching and took it to the next level and created a school. In an interview done by CBS Ron Clark said, “It’s hard to explain the Ron Clark Academy. It is a place that’s about passion, energy,” co-founder Ron Clark said. “I wanted to create a school where you could feel the spirit, wanted kids to walk into this school and say, ‘I love coming here.’ If you’ve got individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of kids, they’re going to be successful.”
RCA’s principles include, Teaching in a way that promotes creativity, innovation, wonder, joy, and a passion for learning. Embracing RCA’s motto: No Fear! Celebrating diversity and different cultures. Striving to find the best, brightest, and most passionate educators from across the country to teach in their classrooms. Also to be a school that inspires academic excellence, leadership, collaboration, and a world class education for students.
RCA has received national and international recognition for its success in educating students with academic rigor, passion, and creativity balanced by a strict code of discipline.
This school in my opinion serves, as a great example of what all educators should strive to accomplish because it creates a brighter future for generations to come. Children need motivation to show them that these teachers are truly here for them and teach them in a way they can comprehend better if need be. Being able to watch these kids come to life on video shows the many great things the school has accomplished and the many things we have to look forward to in the future.
Here is a few video of the staff that performed a fun step show for the students and also two videos of the students in action:
By Intern, Raziyah Eure
February 10, 2016
Our Literacy Through the Arts Program is in full swing at both PS 15 and Hamilton Heights School. Literacy Through the Arts is an ongoing program which aims to increase kindergarten through second grade children’s literacy skills through a multi-arts curriculum focusing on movement, music and visual arts in order to improve their reading, writing and verbal expression.
I have had the pleasure kicking off the semester working with the 1st graders of Hamilton Heights, who are currently studying the story The Paper Bag Princess. The kids always enjoy starting Arts for All workshops with a song and dance warm-up.
The first week the children worked together to retell the story of The Paper Bag Princess, recalling what they could remember from the storyWas the story read aloud to them?. They then had the opportunity to act as some of their favorite characters in a mini play during rug time. Later they were able to finish their pictures that they drew of their favorite scene from the story, accompanying it with a sentence to describe what they drew. Many showed that they love the scenes with the dragon by depicting him blowing fire. In line with the Common Core, these activities would demonstrate the children’s understanding of the story’s message, and help them identify feelings that go with the words of the story.
The following week, the children were assigned their very own parts in a play version of The Paper Bag Princess. Many of the kids were enthusiastic to hear that they would be playing dragons and princesses.
We all then gathered at different tables of princesses, dragons, (and you cannot forget the prince), to do a read through of the script with the children. The children all very happily read the lines with much excitement and emotion when it got to their part. They found out by the end of the reading that they would have the opportunity to act it out in a play for other people to watch. Recounting the day, it was obvious that the students remembered the storyline clearly. One girl mentioned how she liked the part of the book where the princess tells the prince that just because he’s “dressed nice and has nice hair, he’s still a bum.” It was also great to see another student complimenting their classmate on how much they liked how the student read Prince Ronald’s lines.
I am looking forward to continuing to follow these students throughout this semester and to spending time with the 2nd Grade Literacy Through the Arts class as well!