MA in Community Arts Summer Institute
The six MACA women arrived on MICA’s campus for day one on June 16, 2010. After two days of touring the City of Baltimore, as well as the minds of the MACA faculty, a week-long training commenced. This week-long training was facilitated by the delightful Kristina Berdan, Executive Director, of the Youth Dreamers. Not only were the MACA students part of this fun, they were joined by several MAT students volunteering their time for this summer program and a gaggle of high school interns from the Youth Works program.
Team building was the foundation to a series of topics to be digested by all members of the summer program. This was followed by a team-constructed definition of Community Arts: “Community Art is a collaboration of vision and inspiration to voice ideas using various mediums as a catalyst for understanding.”
We then discussed our job descriptions, responsibilities and duties, in addition to leadership training. This is the day a litter of newspaper puppies was born! Working together in small groups comprised of MACA, MAT and High School Interns, each took on a role in creating a dog made only out of newspaper and tape. In addition to the dog, each group created a definition of leadership:
- “Guiding a group of people to reach their collective goal while actively participating in the process.”
- “Leadership is the act of using one’s strength to guide and demonstrate examples to help others succeed.”
With these great definitions of leadership the next step was diving into problem solving difficult situations. Working with youth in the community is never easy! Thanks to the previous Summer Institute groups that have gone through the program, the current team had a handful of REAL LIFE case studies to look over, pick apart and discuss in order to find good solutions to some of the most challenging situations in working with youth.
The MACA students were then introduced to the magic of an elevator speech. Each MACA student was given the opportunity to “wow” the High School Interns with a quick speech about themselves in the time it took for the elevator in the Fox Building on MICA’s campus to go from bottom to top and back again (about three minutes). This challenge was in preparation for our Summer Institute site selection process. The MACA students had a quick few minutes to present themselves to representatives from each Summer Institute site before going on a little “speed dating” adventure. Each MACA student had an opportunity to "chat up" each site on a one-on-one basis to allow for a perfect matching.
By this point the Summer Institute teams were assembled and sites were matched. The teams participated in a collaborative art making process, building stronger relationships among the participants and learning about everyone’s artistic process and style along the way.
The delightful classroom management and restorative justice topics were the next to come before diving into learning how to craft and develop curricula. Instead of lesson plans, the MACA program encourages the use of the term Action Plan! Action Plans differ from lesson plans in that they are driven by a collaborative learning approach between artist facilitators and youth participants. This plan consists of: project overview, research by the facilitator, supplies/materials, goals/objectives/skills, vocabulary, motivation, introduction, art making/activities, outcomes/assessment and reflection. With this Action Plan format the Summer Institute teams were armed with the tools necessary for creating meaningful arts curricula for their respective sites.
And away everyone went, off to their sites and had a fantastically terrific Summer Institute.
Photos courtesy of Kristina Berdan