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Art Education Spirituality

CSAE 2021 Chair-Elect

CSAE stands for the Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education, and is a group of individuals that come together to support the connection between spirituality and art.

The Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education (CSAE) seeks to:
• Study the relationships between the spiritual, the visual arts and art education in ways that advance pedagogy, research, scholarship, museum and artistic practices related to the spiritual in art education at all levels of practice and in diverse teaching and learning contexts.
• Embrace the study of inclusive and diverse content, images and ideas related to the spiritual within contemporary and historical multicultural art and visual culture and a holistic art education paradigm.
• Develop and nurture a community of art education professionals committed to advancing the understanding and application of the spiritual in diverse art education contexts.

CSAE Chairs

I was recently voted as Chair Elect for CSAE, which means I will serve as Chair from 2022-2024. I will follow an group of amazing leaders.

Peter London was a Co-Founder for the caucus back in 2008.

CSAE

Peter London is an artist, master teacher, art therapist, international lecturer, and author of many texts on art, spirit, and nature, including No More Secondhand Art and Drawing Closer to Nature. He has offered his holistic approach to teaching art to thousands of students of all ages, from “art phobics” to professional artists in museums, colleges, art centers, and centers for holistic studies. He is Chancellor Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association. 

His book No More Secondhand Art was an inspiration for me when I transformed my project based classroom into a studio based classroom. I was introduced to the book when I attended a Summer Teacher Institute at MICA back in 2009. We were asked to create a tree that symbolized our life and our journey. It was a powerful exercise in visualizing parts of self.

Peters work with art and spirituality has been inspiring to me, and I am so honored to be building off of what he helped to start!

I have had to pleasure to meet and work with three other former chairs, Patricia Rain Gianneschi, Nancy Brady and Sheri Klein. I am so grateful for such a wonderful team of people to work with on bringing more light to the spiritual in art education!

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Art Class Education

Teaching Creative Living

Since quarantine, teaching has changed so much. As a public school educator, I used to be in a classroom full of students and buzzing creative energy. When we went virtual, all of that energy was displaced and we had to learn how to channel it in a new way. Learning Zoom, figuring out Google, making dynamic presentations, creating new activities to increase engagement, and figuring out what to do when technology doesn’t do what we expect it to.

Teaching in a new era

During quarantine I had an opportunity to really think about and plan the many ways I desired to teach creativity. To generate a creative energy in others, so that they might learn more about themselves through creative expression. I believe this is the way of the future, the way to heal, share, and communicate with one another. Art has always been a driving energy. It records history, shares stories, documents ideas, communicates emotions, and connects us to nature, ourselves and a divine God source energy.

I believe in creativity, and creatively living.… in everything we do.

Teaching Creativity

Aside from teaching in public school, I have developed art lessons for children and adults on the evenings and weekends. This has been a great time for private lessons, with quarantine restrictions being lifted. The lessons range from realistic drawing, material exploration, and creative thinking to using new digital art technology!

One of my most recent art lessons, and most favorite, is to have the artist come up with a narrative based on objects of their choice. This can be adaptable to any age, we can go deep into a situation to uncover how we feel about something, or we can let our imagination take us away!

I really enjoy creating a sacred space for all to feel safe to express themselves through the creative arts! Here are few images from lessons I have recently had in person and via zoom.

Creative Balance Studios is in the process of setting up our art studio space to hold creative classes for kids and adults this summer!! Contact me if you are interested!

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Education

Saturday Academy

Our school has been given a grant to open up on Saturdays for students who are struggling a little with virtual learning.

We have had 6 Saturday sessions, and I worked the last three in May. It has been awesome being able to spend more time with kids one on one. I have had 5 or so students in my group and it has been wonderful watching their missing assignments go away, and seeing their faces as they catch up on their work!

Students were given half of the time to work on missing assignments, while the other half was used for doing a STEAM activity! Our first week we made roller coasters, unfortunately I did not get any pictures of that project. But we did do a mini painting party and Gyotaku Japanese fish printing on teach shirts!

Saturday STEAM

The mini painting party taught students how to mix colors, use paint and a brush as well as express their interests!

The students were hesitant at first, as most are when they do not have a lot of experience painting. But I was proud that they stick in there and were actually super happy with their final paintings! They all took them home!

The last week we did fish printing which was a lot of fun as well. Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. We used acrylic paint on t-shirts!

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Art Education

Virtual Reality Community

After winning the Brainly Educator of the Year Special Award, I received $500 from Brainly towards a project on DonorsChoose!

I decided on two virtual reality headsets for my classroom.

Personally, we have two Oculus Quest 2‘s in my household… and I completely enjoy them. Using the Quest 2 for virtual art making has been one of my new favorite things. Especially when its collaborating with other artists in VR.

I posted the link to my project and as I was writing this today, the project was FULLY FUNDED!

We received the headsets 2 days after the project was funded!! Just before the end of the school year, which is super exciting. I am looking forward to showing them art museums in VR and letting them create worlds in virtual reality!

Thank you everyone who voted for me for Brainly Educator of the Year, this wouldn’t have been possible without you all! And a HUGE special shout out to my son Landyn, thank you for nominating me! You are such a blessing to me. <3

Thank you to the two donors that helped the project become fully funded. The students were super excited when I shared with them that we will be receiving our new headsets soon!

Keep an eye out for future blogs about what we do and how it goes!

Categories
Education Art Class

Brainly Educator of the Year

One evening in April, Landyn called out to me from the other room “MOM check your email!!” So I did, and I found a nomination for Brainly Educator of the Year award!

The educator is my mom who is an art teacher at Ridgely Middle school. She teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and is nice to them all. She has helped me to stay on task a lot and get out of rough patches in my virtual learning and in this crazy time. She is the most supportive person I know and helps her students a lot too. My mom has been an exceptional educator in my learning journey this year because of many reasons. One of them is she is always prepared and cares for others a lot. She is always concerned if someone gets hurt and makes sure that they are okay. This crazy time is affecting all of our jobs, whether it’s getting fired or everything being harder to manage, my mom doesn’t care! She pushes through each struggling day of driving an hour to her school and back dealing with kids for the whole day, then drive all the way back home just to get on meetings and teach more kids and never gets tired of it! My mom is practically a real life superhero! I don’t care if she wins or not, I just wanted to nominate her to show her how much I love and appreciate her!

-Landyn Oates

I am so proud of Landyn and all he has accomplished as a 7th grader during quarantine. He had a tough time for a little bit when he got behind on work. As a mom and educator I find it interesting to manage my parent mindset and educator mindset, though most times they are the same. When it comes to being a parent, things like making sure my children take responsibility for their things… helping with family matters such as keeping their rooms clean, doing chores, and making sure they complete their schoolwork. Then as an educator, I find it important to make sure they have enough time to complete their school work. Especially during this virtual learning time… there is so much students do not know about using computers that they are learning so quickly.

So I decided to help Landyn out by taking over his chores, and instead of punishing him for his misuse of time, he used his time to complete his work and saw what happens when we do not do our part. When we slack off and decide to do other things then our responsibilities, it affects the whole community. Our actions affect the community as a whole, either in a positive or a negative way. This was such a good experience for him. He learned his lesson through love and modeling rather than anger and punishment.

Brainly: SMARTER TOGETHER.

No one knows everything, but everyone knows something. With Brainly, students combine their strengths and talents to tackle problems together.

Core Values

  • STAY CURIOUS: Always question. Always wonder. Always explore. There are no limits to what we can discover and learn. We believe in embracing our curiosity and seeing where it can take us.
  • LEND A HAND: We’re all in this together. And there will come a time when each and every one of us will need a little support. So when you see someone who needs an extra hand, don’t think twice. Step in and help them out.
  • STRIVE FOR BETTER: Reach further. Go longer. Work harder. There’s no knowing what we can accomplish when we commit to always trying to do better, and be better, in everything that we do.

These core values really resonate with me! The CEEQER model is one of questioning, exploring, expressing, reflecting, and experimenting. Then taking what we know and sharing it to help others on their journey! Its about having a growth mindset, and know that we learn most from our challenges.

So after finding out I was nominated I shared it with my students, and boy did they take it and run! I was voted for 164 times!! I am so grateful for my community, family and friends. Thank you all for believing in me and voting for me.

I did not have the most votes for my category, humanities, first place was taken by Angela Dierschke an educator from Lewisville ISD, Killough Texas! I love Texas educators!! Way to go!

I did however receive the BRAINLY SPECIAL AWARD!

This is such a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful for be given this award! Thank you Brainly for your vision to share and celebrate educators!

Categories
Spirituality Divine I Am Education Existence

Music as Medicine

The Singing the Bones class with Lydia Violet, and Leah Song from Rising Appalachia, was a deep dive into the history, stories, songs, and cosmology that came before me…. that made me who I am.

They guided us in exploring the cultural inheritance of one of our ancestries through researching myths, folktales, archetypes, musical instrumentation, and song. By the end of the 6 week course, I had a deeper understanding of the cosmologies/myths/stories held within my cultural lineage. I saw so many connections to my Annishinabe heritage and my Scottish Celtic heritage. I was also able to redefine what having a relationship with my ancestors means for me. 

Music as Medicine

The Music As Medicine Project (MAM) was created by Lydia Violet Harutoonian, M.A, lifetime musician and dedicated student of Joanna Macy’s. While pursuing her Masters in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Lydia entered an in-depth study of some of the history and perspectives that have generated our current planetary crisis. For the past 9 years she has studied closely with deep ecology elder and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, learning how we can metabolize our pain and care for the world into profound resilience and energy for action. She is also an accomplished musician who is deeply inspired by folk, blues, and protest music traditions. 

We are a collection of all the actions, thoughts, and experiences of those who came before us.

I decided to research my fathers heritage, Scottish Irish German, as I have been very much involved with digging deeply into my mothers heritage, Ojibwe. I have always felt like the magic in me comes from my native heritage. Though I have learned a lot through researching Scottish Irish and German heritages… the Celtic people were very magickal.

Uncovering more information about the cosmology of the Celtic people, I found so many similarities to Ojibwe teachings. From drums, rattles, turtles, and ceremonies. It was a huge realization again, that we are all connected and everything comes from within.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the class, it was so amazing hearing everyone’s journey and being inspired by everything that was uncovered.

“People do meditation to find psychic alignment. That’s why people do psychotherapy and analysis. That’s why people analyze their dreams and make art. That is why some contemplate tarot cards, cast I Ching, dance, drum, make theater, pry out a poem, and fire up their prayers. That’s why we do all the things we do. It is the work of gatherings all the bones together. Then we must sit at the fire and think about which song we will use to sing over the bones, which creation hymn, which re-creation hymn. And the truths we tell will make the song…

…The old woman sings over the bones, and as she sings, the bones flesh out. We too ‘become’ as we pour soul over the bones we have found. As we pour our yearning and our heartbreaks over the bones of what used to be when we were young, of what we used to know in the centuries past, and over the quickening we sense in the future, we stand on all fours, four-square. As we pour soul, we are revivified. We are no longer a thin solution, a dissolving frail thing. No. We are in the ‘becoming’ stage of transformation.”

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Categories
Art Class Education

Together Again

It has begun! Students and teachers are together again! I have missed my students a lot. Seeing them in the classroom, creating and smiling. Its been too long since we had this type of interaction. There is nothing like creating art together with other people.

Over the past year I have taught students art virtually. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself, teaching, and digital space. Learning what I love and what I can let go of. Seeing what I have to offer my students, even without being in their presence. Realizing that our energies can still influence each other, even if we are miles apart.

Now that we are together again

I missed seeing my classroom full of students creating. Walking in to my classroom filled me with anticipation!

We can create as a community. We get to gather and share. We get to feel that energy flowing through the classroom. Even though we are missing a few of our fellow artists in person, we have been able to nicely integrate both in person and digital work space!

RMS Together Again

Our PTA is the best ever, I just have to give them a huge shout out. They are so supportive of the teachers at Ridgely, and always go beyond to show us how much!

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Art Class Education Existence Most Popular

Teaching One Year Later

March 13th marks one year since we stopped teaching from our classrooms, and stepped into the virtual world.

One year ago I was excited and eager to head to Minneapolis for the NAEA conference. My students were beginning some amazing personal projects in class. The green club had just been approved to go on a canoeing field trip. There were so many beautiful things about to take place!

On March 12th, I was preparing my students and myself for the unknown. The only advice I could give them was to take time to breathe and do things they love to keep them relaxed. To go with the flow. They had been prepared in other ways throughout the year, by teaching them to have a growth mindset.

Teaching a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is so vital during these times. Being able to experience challenges and perceived setbacks in a healthy way, learning and growing no matter what.

Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Having awareness and understanding of self, through an open mindset, creates huge opportunities for growth.

Teaching Growth Mindset

2020 was a hear of growth and transformation. Allowing the things no longer serving our goals to be washed away, making room for a bright new dawn. A new era of living, experiencing, connecting, and sharing. A new era of finance and self sovereignty. Taking back our power to create a life we are worthy of living, to know our worth.

As I sit here, remembering how it used to be… I am filled with gratitude and excitement for this new year. I am excited to see my students in person starting next week. Excited to see their faces light up when they are able to create something they never thought possible. Looking forward to watching them problem solve and express themselves!

This new year has so much to offer. If we step into it with gratitude and love, all the riches that are divinely ours will come to us in perfect ways.

<3

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Most Popular Art Art Class Divine I Am Education Existence Spirituality

Fierce Courage

Fierce Courage

Another thoughtful creative challenge… the word mood comes from the old English root word for MIND, or

Fierce courage…

perhaps when we get in a mood it is to remind us to have fierce courage.

Mood… mind… I see this one as realizing that everything comes from within. Our mood is set by our mind… Mindset. How we choose to see the world. How we choose to respond. Do we let our mind control us or are we actively being the awareness outside of the mind.

Having a growth mindset is one of the best ways to maintain awareness of self, and take all challenges as learning opportunities. This keeps our moods in check and allows us to have that fierce courage to step into our authentic selves!

<3

Categories
Art Art Class Divine I Am Education Existence Most Popular Spirituality

Illustration

A recent creative challenge word for my students was Illustration. After looking into the root of the word, I was fascinated that it comes from the world for illumination! Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.

As I thought more about the context of this word and its meaning, which is … a picture illustrating a book, newspaper, etc. An example serving to clarify or prove something. The action or fact of illustrating something, either pictorially or by exemplification.

An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games and films.

We are enlightened because we see.
When there is light, there is illumination.
When there is illumination there illustration.
When there is illustration there is enlightenment.
Art is the key to the divine.
To be enlightened, one must see this
<3