SchoolArts Magazine

November 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 15 of 54

Co-Editor's Letter Editor Nancy Walkup invited David Gran, high-school art and film instructor at the Shanghai American School in China, to be a co-editor of this issue. I began writing about art education on The Carrot Revo- lution, a blog I started twelve years ago. The name refers to Paul Cézanne's famous quote, "The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution." This quote has always reminded me of the intrinsic power of art to change the way we see the world. At the heart of any contemporary art practice is the desire to help students see the world with fresh eyes, and to add their own voices to that experience. When we ask our students to "think outside the box," we are ask - ing them to extend their experiences into imagination. When we help them strengthen their technical skills, we are giving them the tools they need to communicate a meaningful personal response to the world around them. When, over the course of a project, unit, or year, we weave together these creative and technical skills, we empower them to not only experience the world in a new way, but to add their own voices to the conversation. In this way, art is inherently an activist endeavor. I live in Shanghai. For the first time, I was actually a little apprehensive to return to the United States this sum - mer. It's a little embarrassing to admit that, but if you've ever had any trepidation about traveling somewhere new, perhaps you'll give me some leeway here. Since the elec - tion, news from both progressive and conservative sources alike showed me a divided country that I didn't recognize as my own. What I found instead was a vibrant artistic response to both the divisive political atmosphere and the hateful rhetoric almost everywhere I turned. Heart-shaped flag icons sporting the message, "Hate Has No Home Here" ( adorn the lawns and windows of houses throughout my hometown of Philadelphia. Driving down the BQE in New York City, a billboard reminds pass - ersby that "US Means Together," and in Queens we found a mural that graphically reminds us that, at one point or another, we were all refugees. These images should remind us that, as art teachers, we have a responsibility to help students respond to messages of hate and intolerance that may be directed at members of their own communities, or which they may be victims of themselves. Empowering students means giving them the language and skills to create their own positive messages. Maxine Greene once wrote of the process of art-making that "it should remind us of the relationship between free- dom and the consciousness of possibility; between freedom and imagination—the ability to make present what is absent, to summon up a condition that is not yet." In this issue, you'll read just a few ways in which teach- ers have empowered their students to reimagine the past, take action in the present, and imagine a better future. It has been a great honor to guest-edit this issue of SchoolArts and share with you the incredible ideas and resources inside. Follow me on SchoolArts contributing editor and November co-editor David Gran. Twitter: @dsgran SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 11

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