DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

AUGUST SESSION: REFLECTION, READING, WRITING & ARTMAKING

 

During the month of August MACA students do not attend classes. Our group spent the month reading and creating art to reflect upon our experiences from the Summer session.

 

Art work created in August and during our Summer session was included in our group exhibition in September. This exhibition was curated by MACA students with the guidance of George Ciscle, MICA Curator-in-Residence and MACA faculty. Please follow this link to see the completed work that went into our exhibition, Centering Humanity, in The Rosenberg Gallery in Brown Center on MICA's campus.

 

This summer our group read the following texts. Included are excerpts from some of our written reflections:


Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools 

Jonathan Kozol, 1991

 

Anne Kotleba, August 2010

"I took Savage Inequalities with me for a three day camping adventure that culminated in Gettysburg, PA.  This fateful timing forced me to look not only the battleground with intense scrutiny, but also the accompanying museum.


[...] I am an educated, white, privileged American who has lived in both the North and the South.  I understand the greater implications of what the Civil War stood for and the repercussions that we still battle to overcome. While reading page after page of Jonathan Kozol’s account of the ailing state of the education system, I can not help but think that we have shamed those who fought for “freedom” in this country.

 

[...] While Kozol highlights inner city schools such as East St. Louis, Chicago’s South Side and the Bronx, he also devotes about 13 pages to the entire state of Mississippi.  It is not a coincidence that Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia battle each other each year, for last place in the education poll.  The Southern states are still fighting to recover from the debilitating repercussions of what was called “reconstruction.”  Yet, this segregation within the Union is not entirely because of color, it has economic implications as well.  I see the Southern states as the poor neighborhoods of the American metropolis.

 

[...] Kozal quotes a New York high schooler.  He says: “Most of the students in this school won’t go to college. Many of them will join the military. If there’s a war, we have to fight.  Why should I go to war and fight for opportunities I can’t enjoy- for things rich people value, for their freedom, but I do not have that freedom and I can’t go to their schools?”  Will this battle over social justice ever come to an end?  Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge that there is a battle.  Kozal quotes a Boston journalist on page 191 in reference to the quality of living in our country.  He says, “You couldn’t permit this sort of thing unless you saw their children and their parents as a little less than human.”  Prior to the Civil War, slaves were property and they were seen as less than human.  As a nation, we are appalled when we hear  stories about slavery.  Why are we not more outraged that the war for freedom is still being fought everyday by children and adults throughout this country?  I wonder if East St. Louis will be a national park 200 years from now?"

 

 

Jessica Wyatt, August 2010

"[...] there is a longing, this persistent hunger.  People look for beauty even in the midst of ugliness. ‘It rains on my city,’ said an eight-year old…’but I see rainbows in the puddles’…but you have to ask yourself: How long will this child look for rainbows? (p. 148) More importantly, how can we remind ourselves as facilitators of Youth, Art facilitators at that, to look for rainbows and encourage and show not only the Youth, but also our adult peers that we cannot help others if we can’t help ourselves first."

 


Alexis Iammarino, August 2010

"Competence in a learning process could be translated for individual pursuit of passion. McKnight (in The Careless Society) warns against the metaphorical desertification of community culture disabled by professional services and tools to cure. Kozol’s accounts of the terrible conditions in poor public schools in America show (symptoms of) that very desert-ification. It can hollow education’s meaning, purpose and potential in these places. The pervasive lack of joy and inhospitable settings Kozol describes in these schools, I likened to what McKnight said about ‘psychological death by the removal of people from society’."


 

 

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscious of a Nation 

Jonathan Kozol, 1995

 

Alexis Iammarino, August 2010

"Kozol enjoys a pineapple coquito with Anabelle, and says, “ Being treated as a friend this way by children in the neighborhood feels like a special privilege.”  And “Anabelle is, by any odds, one of the most joyful children I have ever met.” The presence of joy, friendship, and the informality of humor create space in the experience to become transformative.

I know just what he is saying when he speaks of this privilege and I identify with his total affection for children’s experience with place. I immediately relate particular children who welcomed me during my stays in places where I was the visitor/other. In Matera, Italy it was Robertino*. El Paso, Texas I remember Rosaria and Armando. Frenchboro, Maine it was Brody and Bradley.  And this past summer it was the youth of EGL art camp I experienced this.


After a week or so of programming at EGL I began to hear this refrain in my head at the end of a long day, I would be so happy how lucky I am that these parents, adults entrust their children to me. But also the big piece being that these young people were receptive to the trust and respect I had for them. Walking around Artscape with members of my EGL gorup is among the very highest highs of the whole summer experience that I recall. My boyfriend Scott and I went around with these boys and had so much fun and many laughs. Again, I was thinking about how fortunate I was to be sharing this experience with them, new for all of us and they showed me my first funnel cake! We bonded photographing of our experience out as a group, memory making and playing together around the crazy cars and exhibits!!


In 2003, I had been living in Matera, Southern Italy, for two weeks when I met Robertino, who them became my closest friend and daily companion on walks around his neighborhood for the next month. He was six, he introduced me to his family where I would later live during 3 consequent visits to Matera. There was one night when he and I went out into the old city for the passeggiata (Italy’s ritual evening walk in the city/town) that I felt so completely happy and welcomed by my young guide. I had done the passeggiata on many occasions but none that wonderful or memorable: it was the significance of the relationship building as representative of my understanding/participating in the place. [but it is an invitation and a privilege]. Being invited to live with and share in the daily lives of the community that you are working in is the greatest gift."

 

 

Anne Kotleba, August 2010

"As one of the children Kozol talks to says she does not like to hear about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, or his I have a dream speech. She says. “One, because you hear it too much.  Two, because it isn’t true.” Dr. King dreamed of a land where white children and black children can sit down together and play.  I think this is happening.  I think that Black and White kids are playing together, I think it is their parents who are the problems.  Black and White adults have trouble playing together.  Children and not born with racial identities ingrained in their minds, just like they are not born into thinking they are poor.  It is society that lets them know this, and lets them know pretty quickly."

 


The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits

John McNight, 1995

 

Jess Wyatt, August 2010

“In communities, people know by stories.  These community stories allow people to reach back into their common history and their individual experience for knowledge about the truth and direction for the future.” As an outsider, it is frustrating not knowing these stories prior to arriving in a new community.  The outsider may have read these stories, but studies can only take you so far.  Without the benefit of oral history, learning who knows the details, which individual exaggerates, even hearing different versions of the same story can give insight into different histories within the community.  It is essential to take the time as a new member of a community to get to know the individuals that make up the collective whole.  Make the effort to hear their tales that they’ve all heard one thousand times and you will be rewarded with information that will be invaluable to your work within the community."

 


A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues in Transforming Education

Ira Shor and Paolo Freire, 1987

 

Anne Kotleba, August 2010

Ira Shor describes what he calls, “democracy of expression” or the use of language to create common threads, both listening and learning from teacher to student. [...] no teacher can fully exist without the knowledge of her students. The teacher needs her students just as they need her, therefore, establishing open dialogue is the only way to the “different relationship” Freire talks about.  This is a relationship built on trust and not on power.

 

Alexis Iammarino, August 2010

"I created four paintings as meditations on the embedded themes from our readings, my experience with MACA and what I learned from EGL [most specifically the process of our in creating the cat snatcher catcher and discussion of people powered machines]. I could not take myself away from these paintings. I was in love.
In the making them I was thinking about ways to represent the unique and beautiful things that are born of collaboration. And also, what it is, what it might look like, if the grounds for education and art’s function were ideologically opposed to mimetic reproduction. Analogous with liberatory education’s idea of creating models against-the–transference-of-official-knowledge. Once again, honoring the notion that there is no fixing to be done, no transmission of a cure. Associational as opposed to hierarchical, to teach and be taught, lead and to be lead: reallocating power. Sharing friendship in place of service."

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.