A blog about art, animation,music, and the adventures of teaching At-Risk students.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Glad to be back in the classroom after an life changing experience at the NAEA conference in New York. It was a bit of a rocky start, having my original flight delayed and delayed and delayed as JKF airport had fog as thick as pea soup and they stopped all flights there. Some international flights were sent to Boston, some sent back to Raleigh. It wasn't till 10 at night they decided to cancel our flight and put me on a 6 in the morning flight the next day. After 2 hours of something not really close to being called sleep I was up at 3 am and off to the airport. Besides the slight delay as they decided to replace a screen in the cockpit before we boarded, it was smooth sailing to New York. Really nice views of the sun rising over the clouds.
I stayed in Brooklyn with an old friend and it was right to work as my co-presenter for both workshops met me and we went to mid-town New York to scout locations and register for the conference. We found a perfect spot on the very tip of central park with incredible views and events to draw. We were incredibly happy to see the next day the weather was amazing for class. Our first workshop was sold out and was called "Creating Communities of Change through Urban Sketching". It was a fantastic and diverse group. I had teachers from Ethiopia, Netherlands, Hawaii, Seattle, Louisiana, etc. After a short power point presentation on my work with building urban sketching communities and how I use it in the classroom we went to our location and sketched. We had an amazing response and I was able to show how this exercise crosses a lot of subjects beside drawing. Social studies, urban design, urban planning, history, architecture, etc. Time flew and it was over before we knew it. We had our "throwdown" and the sketches where amazing.
The next workshop we led was "Changing the lives of At-Risk youth through Art". It was a 50 minute lecture. I created a power point on my past projects, grants, and community work with our students and some other out reach I have done. I incorporated our school's work and recent Kagan model as examples of success with At-Risk youth. A former student Jeanine did a video on how the art class and this school changed her life. The audience was very moved and extremely engaged. After my lecture I had my friend Yvonne who lives in New York talk about her work with The Animation Project which is a group that works with At-risk teens out of the New York.
Then my friend and co-presenter Angela Lombardi presented on her work with Artspace and their outreach to the At-Risk community.
Before we started our lecture a woman from Puerto Rico approached me and told me about her amazing program she runs. I had her come up and tell the audience about it. They run a sort of boot camp for At-Risk youth. 248 students that would have dropped out graduated from their program.
We ran out of time during a very engaged question and answer session and I was shocked to see a line form as people wanted to speak to me. I was floored to have two representatives from the Kennedy Center (http://www.kennedy-center.org/) approach me and ask me to help write and collaborate on their publication for At-Risk youth.
I also had students from the Pratt Institute who are writing their thesis on the subject and student teaching ask me questions and set up future collaborative events. Eventually the crowd had to move on.
My friend Yvonne then sat down with me and recorded me for a podcast for the Adult animation series. It was about my At-Risk teaching, urban sketching leading, animating life. It was wonderful to speak about it all and give voice to what we do. A life changing experience for sure.
Eventually I had to get on a plane and make my way back to Raleigh. I'm a bit exhausted, but full of hope and pride for what we do.