How do we understand the idea of art? How do we understand the concept of social justice? What does Art Education do?
These were some of the questions explored by school administrators, arts educators, teachers, parents, youth, and community organizers gathered on March 24th at the Brooklyn Museum’s Arts as Social Justice Roundtable. Through group discussion, image reflection, and sharing personal stories, participants investigated the intersection of the Arts and Social Justice and the pedagogical implications of this relationship.After sharing some of the issues most impacting their communities, participants broke into smaller groups where they raised a host of other questions including, “How can art redefine social concepts and dynamics?” “What is the relationship between art-making and learning in general? How can art bring communities together?” and “How can art help us imagine new social possibilities?”
Some key findings from the gathering included:
We often assume a shared understanding of Social Justice and this is often counter-productive.
Social Justice should be approached as a commitment to PROCESS. An understanding of pedagogy and the ability to facilitate groups around difficult conversations is essential to this process.
At its core Art can also be understood as a process/approach towards learning and doing. There is an intimate relationship between all authentic learning and Art.
Within the context of Art, a Social Justice perspective requires us to expand and questions traditional notions of “Fine Arts” and artistic “Canons”.
Art Education is essential to Social Justice because Social Justice requires Social Imagination.
There is power in collective thinking and group learning. There is a need and yearning for more spaces that bring together diverse cross-section of people to engage and to wrestle with these questions.
Over the next two years, the Education Division will continue asking these questions as we begin a new partnership with local community organizations and middle schools in Central Brooklyn (Districts 16 & 17) with the support from the Kenan Foundation. The partnership will result in a student-driven community arts project highlighting the transformative power of the arts. The Arts as Social Justice Roundtable was the first step in learning from colleagues across the field and sharing inspirational approaches as we begin this new endeavor.
In reflecting on art education, imagination, and social justice, Director of Education, Adjoa Jones de Almeida recently wrote, “Now more than ever, we must look at those realms in our collective consciousness that privilege the imagination and the human capacity to create. Continuous engagement with artistic practices strengthens our imagination muscle. Arts education is essential, because it builds our ability to dream and imagine beyond our present condition.” As we work to strengthen our Arts as Social Justice Pedagogy, Education staff will continue investigating the intersection between Arts and Social Justice in our teaching as well as in conversations with visitors, staff, and community members.
New York City: Almagro no! Hands off Venezuela! May 17, 2017
Activists held a lunch-time picket at the
Council of the Americas in Manhattan May 17 to protest a scheduled talk by OAS
General Secretary Luis Almagro, a stooge of the U.S. counter-revolutionary
campaign against Bolivarian Venezuela.
Protesters took over the sidewalk in front of
the Upper East Side mansion housing the Council of the Americas. They chanted, “Almagro,
asesino!” (“Almagro, assassin!”) “Maduro, amigo, el pueblo está contigo” (“President
Madruo, friend, the people are with you”) and “USA, hands off Venezuela!”
The OAS head cancelled his appearance,
apparently afraid of being confronted by Chavistas and supporters, and the
picketers declared victory.
The action was called by Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle and
endorsed by the International Action Center, Workers World Party, Cuba
Solidarity New York, Alianza Pais, Libre Resistencia Hondureña, Pastors for
Peace, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Cuba
and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, and the ANSWER coalition.
Columbia’s plan to construct a gymnasium in city-owned Morningside Park also touched off negative sentiment on campus and in the Harlem community. Opposition began in 1965 during the mayoral campaign of John Lindsay, who opposed the project. By 1967 community opposition had become more militant. One of the causes for dispute was the gym’s proposed design, which would have included access for residents of Harlem through a so-called “back door” to a dedicated community facility on its lower level.
The first protest occurred eight days before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In response to the Columbia Administration’s attempts to suppress anti-IDA student protest on its campus, and Columbia’s plans for the Morningside Park gymnasium, Columbia SDS activists and the student activists who led Columbia’s Student Afro Society (SAS) held a second, confrontational demonstration on April 23, 1968. After the protesting Columbia and Barnardstudents were prevented from protesting inside Low Library by Columbia security guards, most of the student protesters marched down to the Columbia gymnasium construction site in Morningside Park, attempted to stop construction of the gymnasium and began to struggle with the New York City Police officers who were guarding the construction site.The NYPD arrested one protester at the gym site. Columbia SDS chairman Mark Rudd then led the protesting students from Morningside Park back to Columbia’s campus, where students took over Hamilton Hall, a building housing both classrooms and the offices of the Columbia College Administration.