Fighting Poverty with Passion
I feel like this year has confirmed that I want to pursue teaching in some capacity (whether that’s teaching bookbinding at a party, or helping someone figure out their statement of purpose for grad school, or acting as a TA/discussion facilitator for a class on public space at the TU School of Architecture). As a practicing and burgeoning artist, I’ve realized the immense privilege I have in having the ability and resources to express my thoughts, my beliefs, my emotions (as well as the privilege in being listened to, and seen as having ideas worth listening to). I would love to learn how to bring arts education or teach art classes to people who are less privileged than me – students of color, poor students, incarcerated students, undocumented students, refugee students. The list goes on and on of people I think have stories we need to listen to, yet are usually people who are not given the resources or tools to do so (because of racism, classism, sexism, poverty, segregation, disinvestment in public schools, the rise of the charter school system, blah blah blah). At the same time, I question whether a single art teacher can really change students’ lives in a time when there is so little funding for arts and music education in public schools. Would becoming a policymaker or lobbyist focused on accessible arts education make more of a difference in the long run? I don’t know. Thoughts?
I just went to the closing of an exhibit called, Vessels of Resistance. It was the first show that I had my work in that wasn’t a university show! Super cool! Also amazing to be part of an exhibit actively trying to create community with strangers around questions of citizenship, migration, and borders during this current disturbing political moment. Yesterday was the anniversary of the holocaust of six million Jews. I cannot help but think about the parallels between that moment in time and the xenophobic hatred being spewed right now in this country. How can art and poetry and writing achieve human rights for all? How can art reveal our humanity to one another?
Outside the exhibit, on the opposite side of the street, a window held a banner that said: “Happy Almost.” Which I love. I can’t quite capture with words the feeling it creates in me: it’s kind of like a swallowed smile, or silence with a friend you haven’t been in the same space with in a long, long time, or reading the last page of a book and turning back again to the first page.