Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2013 Issue »

    Speak Out. Act Up. Move Forward. Disobedience-Based Arts Education

    In this essay, Alison Kotin, Stella Aguirre McGregor, DeAnna Pellecchia, Ingrid Schatz, and Shaw Pong Liu reflect on their experiences working with public high school students to create Speak Out. Act Up. Move Forward., a performative response to current and historical acts of civil disobedience. The authors—a group of instructors from the Urbano Project with specialties in contemporary dance, musical composition, and interactive digital media—discuss their collaboration with students to draw connections between nonviolent protest and the challenges, pressures, and choices teens are faced with in everyday life. Through the use of student voices and powerful images, this reflective piece illustrates the potential of contemporary art to empower youth with a platform to work collaboratively, engage in critical reflection, and provoke and intrigue their audiences in open-ended consideration of urban young people’s lived experiences and views of the world.

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    Alison Kotin is an adjunct professor of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She is also a media arts instructor and marketing and outreach coordinator at the Urbano Project, a nonprofit studio and gallery space dedicated to fostering artistic partnerships between urban teens and adult artists. She exhibits works in venues around the Boston area, most recently at a 2012 solo show, Listen Close, at Boston’s Bromfield Gallery. Alison’s interactive media work explores the interplay of performance and digital media through motion- and touch-activated pieces modeled on musical instruments. Her projects invite play, creation, and audience participation, incorporating sound and movement through site-specific installations and interactive digital objects. Her writing has appeared in Teaching Artists’ Journal, Youth Media Reporter, and The Experience of Dynamic Media. She holds an MFA from the Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt and a BA from Brown University in English literature.

    Stella Aguirre McGregor is founder and director of the Urbano Project, a nonprofit studio and exhibition space in Jamaica Plain, MA, dedicated to fostering partnerships between urban teens and professional artists. She has been an artist and cultural worker for over twenty-five years, working on projects in Boston, Macedonia, New Orleans, and Taiwan. As an artist, curator, and arts administrator, she is interested in exploring the role of art in society, as an integral part of life, and as a catalyst for social change. Stella has served as executive director of the Cloud Foundation, as a program manager at the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and as a senior arts administrator for the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel project’s public art program. In 1986 she founded The Space, a nonprofit artist-run gallery in Boston’s South End, where she produced more than two hundred projects encompassing visual, performing, and public arts with the participation of youth and community members.

    DeAnna Pellecchia is an artist and educator working in the medium of live performance. As a trained dancer, choreographer, and aerialist, she has been featured in rodeos, operas, plays, fashion shows, magazines, books, movies, and music videos and has performed and taught throughout the United States and India. As co–artistic director/choreographer of KAIROS Dance Theater, she creates performance experiences for the stage, site-specific landscapes, and nontraditional public spaces. As a teaching artist, DeAnna specializes in working with inner-city teenagers, both arts-identified and non-arts-identified, and has taught at a number of schools and programs in the Boston area. She is a principal dancer with the New York–based Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works, resides on the dance faculty at Boston University, teaches at Boston Ballet, and is a consultant to VSA Massachusetts, where she designs curriculum for arts-integrated education for the Boston Public Schools.

    Ingrid Schatz, a Boston-based dancer and choreographer, received her BFA in dance from the University of Massachusetts in 1997 and has made a career of pushing the boundaries of dance and performance, evident in her study of aerial dance, horse handling, stilt walking, and authentic movement. She currently collaborates with visual artist Michael Dowling and dancer/choreographer DeAnna Pellecchia, with whom she founded KAIROS Dance Theater. Ingrid has collaborated or worked with Bennett Dance Company, Nicola Hawkins Dance Company, Caitlin Corbett Dance Company, Joyce Lim, Ernesto Pujol, Jin-Wen Yu, and others and is a principal dancer and rehearsal director for Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works, with which she has toured, taught, collaborated, and choreographed throughout the United States, France, and Russia.

    Shaw Pong Liu, violinist and composer, creates performances that interplay improvised music, multidisciplinary collaboration, and audience interaction. Recent creative projects include Soldiers’ Tales Untold, a musical narrative about war blending veterans’ stories, live music, and audience dialogue, and 2,3,4 . . . , a collaborative performance installation with painters, choreographers, dancers, musicians, and interactive technology. She is founder of the 99% String Quartet and SQUEE (String Quartets Everywhere), which brings live string quartets to cafes, subways, and other public spaces in Boston. An avid explorer of new sounds, Shaw Pong has premiered new works with numerous groups in the Boston area and received commissions for her compositions. She has held artist residencies at the Blue Sky Project and Acadia National Park and is a teaching artist with the Silk Road Project, the Urbano Project, and Young Audiences.
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    Spring 2013 Issue


    Foreword: Exploding Parameters and an Expanded Embrace
    A Proposal for the Arts in Education in the Twenty-First Century
    Editors’ Introduction
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education
    Edward P. Clapp and Laura A. Edwards
    Expanding Our “Frames” of Mind for Education and the Arts
    Expanding Our Vision of Museum Education and Perception
    An Analysis of Three Case Studies of Independent Blind Arts Learners
    Universal Design for Learning and the Arts
    Don Glass, Anne Meyer, and David H. Rose
    Comics Arts-Based Educational Research
    Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything
    Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education
    Afterword: The Turning of the Leaves
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education

    Book Notes

    The Learner-Directed Classroom
    Diane B. Jaquith and Nan E. Hathaway (Editors)

    Critical Aesthetic Pedagogy
    Yolanda Medina

    Hip Hop Genius
    Sam Seidel

    Design and Thinking
    Mu-Ming Tsai (Director)

    Changing Lives
    Tricia Tunstall

    Art Education Beyond the Classroom
    Alice Wexler (Editor)

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