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New projects: Community/Attentive Living

Schools do not exist inside of a vacuum, rather they are central parts of rich, vital communities (these can be personal, public, or conceptual in nature).  One of the goals of art education should be to activate those communities for young people and one way to do this is through attentive living (Gude, 2007).  This week we spent our time together talking through the ways that community and attentive living shapes the lives of students and schools.  Together we generated a list of exciting and relevant essential questions including:

  • How can art help us focus on what should be changed, but also on what should be preserved in our communities? (Ball & Lai, 2006).

  • How can I add value to the communities I am a part of?

  • How does tension play a part in a community?

  • How are different communities defined by physical boundaries?

  • How are my communities connected to other people's communities?

  • How can I be a good steward in my community?

  • How can getting to know yourself help you be a part of a community?

Some of the lessons we came up with around all the different aspects of community building are featured in the gallery below! Just click what looks interesting and start exploring with your kids!



Next week we are beginning to unpack how the art classroom can become a place for empowered experiencing and making (Gude, 2007).  As we begin to shift our thinking towards the potential for art education to do the work of empowering students to be both consumers and producers of contemporary art, we will try to hang on to the values we have explored in these lessons on community/attentive living.  Remembering that learning should (Ball & Lai, 2006):

  • be specific to the places that students exist in

  • illustrate the relationships between the past and present 

  • ask students to imagine their world and communities in new ways that put them at the center of the imagining

  • instill a desire to be good caretakers 

  • be a place for nourishing art and literature the celebrates local communities

  • be a venue for community restoration, but it should also not lose touch with what makes communities unique

  • celebrate the local as culturally significant

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© 2020 by Sara Scott Shields