This episode: “Arts Education”

Event Date: Tuesday, January 24, from 7 to 9 pm

I’ve been going back and forth as to whether or not to postpone Tuesday’s Arts Education conversation. “Snow’s coming, but the really big snow won’t be here until Wednesday. So maybe….”

Well, prudence wins out. We’re postponing exactly one week, same place, same time: Tuesday, January 24, at 7 pm, at Vermillion. I hope you can come.

Admission is free. Tell your friends.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle (http://www.vermillionseattle.com/). For more information on the series, call John Boylan at 206-601-9848. If you want to link to this announcement, you can do so at https://boylanconversation.wordpress.com/

We’re back! We hope you all had excellent holidays, and now we’re ready to fill a long winter evening with fascinating conversation. This time, we’re talking about arts education, about a kind of learning that needs to be at the core of how we educate our children and how we think of ourselves as a people. Read on below.

The Guests (see below for bios)

Robert Eyerman, dancer and teaching artist

Julie Trout, teacher and artist

Lara Davis, musician, teacher, and activist

Daemond Arrindell, teacher, organizer, and poet

The Story

For January’s conversation, we’ll return to the topic of arts education. In this series, we last explored the subject four years ago, and it’s high time to get back to it.

As some of you may know, I’m a member of the board of directors of Arts Corps, and arts education is one of my fascinations. Arts Corps is the largest nonprofit arts educator in the Seattle area, putting professional teaching artists in schools, community centers, housing projects, and other venues across King County. The majority of students come from low-income backgrounds, and for a large number the students, this is their only access to art classes.

One thing that strikes me about the teachers and staffs of Arts Corps and their sister organizations (Coyote Central, The Nature Consortium, Richard Hugo House, among others) is their passion for the teaching they do. Another thing I see is an understanding that teaching art to children is not so much about trying to turn out massive numbers of painters and dancers (though that’s not a bad goal). It’s more about the realization that learning art is about learning how to be a full human being, learning how to reflect, how to take risks and fail, how to work on a team, how to imagine something completely new.

If we’re ever to create a vibrant, mature, confident civilization, how can we afford to not have those things at the core of each generation’s education?

For me, I have mixed memories of arts education. I can dimly recall art classes from childhood, sessions with cut paper or clay. As I recall, they were sweetly meaningless classes, more like unstructured play. Later, though, I recall a group of smart parents getting together and with their adolescent offspring and doing readings of plays. I can still remember the night we all read the parts in “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” The girl who read the mad Countess was superb, and for all of us it was an evening of pleasure and possibilities.

Come and bring your ideas of arts education.

The Guests in Detail

Robert Eyerman started dancing in February 2005 under the mentorship of Jerome Aparis in an after-school program with Arts Corps. In 2008, Robert co-founded Vicious Puppies Crew with classmates Binh, Dan, Sammy, and Quan. He now works as a teaching artist twice a week at Aki Kurose Middle School and assists Jerome at Denny Middle School along with weekly classes Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. http://vpc.weebly.com/

Julie Trout (like a fish) was born and raised in a holler located in rural West Virginia. Since her escape, she has been a dedicated and passionate arts educator in both traditional and alternative settings. In these settings she has been able to use various art forms to teach core subjects with a focus on social justice.

She is also a mixed media artist who has dabbled in dance and performance in recent past lives. She often tells her students to listen to their hearts and that art is not a luxury! Currently she has a fire in her belly to bring more equality in quality arts programming in Seattle Public Schools, where she teaches visual arts to nearly 500 students a week, in a portable without water.

Julie has also been involved in creating community partnerships with arts education outside of the classroom. Her work bringing Arts Corps to several schools inspired her to branch out and lead community art projects with the youth boxers at Cappy’s gym, collaborating with Jen Dixon on a community art project at Roots Shelter, and partnering with Windermere Reality to create scholarship opportunities for students and schools. She was recently chosen to be one of Washington State’s Regional Teachers of the Year for 2012.  She is honored to be one of eight teachers across the state to be selected for this.

Lara Davis oversees program development and community partnerships for Arts Corps, and co-leads the organization’s outreach and advancement work, which is dedicated to stewarding Arts Corps’s anti-oppression/racial justice agenda. Over the past 15 years of her professional career, Lara has been active in youth development, arts and arts education and social justice work with such groups as Seattle Young People’s Project, Queer Youth Rights, Communities Against Rape and Abuse, Seattle AFSC, the Seattle Arts Commission, and more. As a musician, sound artist, collaborator, and activist, she knows firsthand the power of creativity as a key component for community building and engaging in justice work. Lara’s passion for the belief that art inspires possibility reinforces Arts Corps’ mission and goals.

Daemond Arrindell is a workshop facilitator, counselor, community organizer, advocate and wants to be a poet when he grows up. Slam Master of Seattle and curator of the longest running weekly show in Seattle – the Seattle Poetry Slam; 8-time coach of the renowned Seattle National Poetry Slam Team; faculty member of Freehold Theatre and co-facilitating (for the 5th year) a poetry and theater residency at Monroe Correctional Complex for men; and is the Writer-In-Residence at Garfield High School and Washington Middle School through Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools Program.

He has performed in numerous venues throughout Washington State and across the country including the Boston Poetry Slam, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NYC’s Louder Arts Project, both the Seattle and Bellevue Arts Museums and recently in “Up (When I Grow)” – a collaboration of film, music and spoken word, addressing the themes of dreams and growing up that played to sold out crowds in both Seattle and Portland.

Daemond feels that it is the challenge of the artist to continue to push him/herself to grow within it. His love for the craft of poetry and the art of spoken word and their ability to alter the emotional state of a listener knows no bounds.

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