RECYCLED CLAY: Like clay recycled from the earth, the arts reconnect us to both our distant and more immediate past, and our rich present.
Why this blog?
I decided to start this blog (recycledclay.com) after a powerful experience in the summer of 2016, teaching collaborative art practice at the B-SAFE program in urban Boston (please see my first blog). At that time, I was emotionally torn, together with many of my co-workers, by the plague of gun violence in the United States in June and July of 2016 and the rise in racial tension in our country, and I was moved by the resiliency and voices of the ten-twelves year olds with whom I worked. Somehow, it seemed important to document that collaborative process and to think about art making in the larger context of our country, its history and issues of social justice.
In 2017, following the most divisive political year of my lifetime, it remains important to me to document collaborative process as a vehicle forward. Again, our country has been reeling from political and social discord and toxic political divisiveness. As a teaching artist working in this time, I hope to find ways to support my students in processing what is going on around them and provide collaborative opportunities for them to voice their own thoughts and opinions in a safe and constructive context.
This blog will hopefully provide other art educators a view into how collaboration can work in practice and how to engage in current issues fruitfully. In my own teaching, I start with the clear understanding that the young people I work with are extremely valuable and have a unique and important perspective on themselves and their communities, which can be contextualized constructively and forcefully through making art. I believe diverse voices are needed to make our society a more fair and just one.
If you are interested in visual arts programming with a social justice focus, please visit the website of Artistic Noise.