Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Tuscan Students Create ‘I Am From/We Are From’ Video Performance Installation

From South Orange-Maplewood School District Supervisor of Fine Arts K-12 James Manno:

Photo by Chad Hunt

Tuscan School received a grant from the Artists in Education Residency Grant Program (AIE) to engage with a professional Teaching Artist.   Fourth grade students in Ms. Gina Garofalo’s homeroom and Mr. Andrew Dean’s Art Classes worked with Artist Barbara M. Bickart for twenty-five days of hands-on workshops to create and produce a video-performance installation. This residency motivated students to develop their identity and personal narrative individually as well as what role they play within the greater context of the community.  Students produced a video-performance installation focused through the prompt: I am from… Subsequently they worked collaboratively, developing We are from… further promoting tolerance, acceptance, diversity, and positive social and community change.

Collaboration and sharing of ideas is inspiring for artists of all ages. Great learning and creation in part comes from the work of others. It is always a goal in art education to utilize and explore content that is relevant to who students are and how they see themselves. Art education is an opportunity for students to engage with and to communicate their identity, their role in the world, who they want to be, and how they can make their world better. Color, line, shape, etc. of course are elements of focus.

Photo by Chad Hunt

However, those formal elements of art are an opportune framework for students to explore socially relevant themes. This project aimed to promote positive identity development, tolerance, acceptance, diversity, and positive social and community change through a hands-on, project-based experience.

Working from a community-centered approach, students gained a sense of belonging, commitment, and responsibility to the place in which they live and learn.

This project also provided an opportunity for students to continue developing personally relevant writing skills. Students explored various mediums to express their written words in addition to their classroom writing practice.

The Artists in Education Residency Grant Program is a co-sponsored project of The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. The program is carried out in partnership with regional partners, including Appel Farm Arts & Music Center and Morris Arts.

This program provides New Jersey schools with long-term artist residencies; 11 schools state-wide received AIE grants this year, including Tuscan School.

This work culminated in a live performance installation showcased December 13.

More information on artist Barbara M. Bickart here:

Photos and video by Chad Hunt.

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