Teaching artists fuse art, academics
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
But this was no ordinary art project -- it was infused with science and poetry.
Students grouped into pairs or threesomes to design and paint their “picket people." The groups designed and painted on the pickets a person that was featured in or inspired by their lessons. One was named “Robby Robot” and another was modeled after scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Newton D. Baker is just one of about 20 CMSD schools who work with Center for Arts-Inspired Learning artists each year. While Newton D. Baker has quarterly artist residencies, the programs are customized to each school's needs and curriculum. Some artists spend an entire year at the same building, while others may visit various schools for a one-time workshop.
Bordelois has been working with Newton D. Baker students and teachers for six years. He often sees students who struggle with a certain math or science concept eventually grasp that same concept through an art project.
“I explain to them that an artist doesn’t just get in front of a white canvas and start painting,” Bordelois said. “There is a process, and it’s the same process that you’re going to use to create a science experiment.”
Megan Thompson, special projects manager for the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, says the artists bring new, engaging teaching methods to students.
“It reaches kids who might not be reached with traditional teaching methods,” Thompson said. “It’s a way to pull together the kinesthetic and the auditory and the visual, and give kids a chance to shine in their different skill sets.”
Projects like "Earth and Beyond" aren't the only way CMSD collaborates with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. The District also works with the center to teach students about filmmaking and digital arts. Last year, hundreds of middle school students created original short films through the center's storytelling residency program. Students wrote, directed and edited their movies and later attended a film festival to showcase their work. That program is back in seven CMSD schools this year.
At the Newton D. Baker art installation, Bordelois’ lessons continued as he helped students arrange their art and taught them about composition. Students excitedly volunteered to place their work where they thought it looked best among the others, with Bordelois' guidance.