arts education

March 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Sheena Folkman

IMG_3392.PNG

We are thrilled to announce our very first Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Sheena Folkman.  Sheena is an exceptional art teacher at LEARN 7 Elementary School . She works relentlessly every day to provide quality arts instruction to the Kindergarten – 5thgrade students that she serves on the West Side of Chicago. She is passionate, dedicated, innovative and is changing her students’ lives through the arts.  We honor her commitment, talent and transformative work at her school.  

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 9.48.12 AM.png

Sheena was nominated by her wife, Christina Folkman.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher.  

Congratulations, Ms. Sheena Folkman! Thank you for your important contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

Sheena takes art education to another level. She is referred to as “director” Folkman because her students are not just students, they are referred to as designers in her classroom. In only her second year teaching she has transformed the art program and enriched the lives of all of her students.

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

Sheena ensures that her class is doing more than simply art production. Each unit starts with an art history lesson, focusing on a specific artist or art style. That lesson then ties into one of the elements of art, which is demonstrated through a project the designers complete for that unit.

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 9.47.45 AM.png

 

How would students describe this arts educator?

Creative, firm, funny, talented!

 

Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

Sheena makes sure to also speak to classroom teachers so she can connect to the curriculum as much as possible. For example, when the 3rd grade read a book about Jackson Pollock, the art room was suddenly transformed into a Pollock-like studio! The floor was covered in plastic, desks and chairs were moved out of the way, and jazz played in the background as the designers learned to drop, splatter with, and tap their paintbrushes to create beautiful Pollock-inspired paintings.

 

What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

Sheena is constantly thinking of how to change up the media used, connect lessons to students’ interests, and generally goes above and beyond in her classroom.

CONGRATULATIONS, SHEENA!

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Leslie Cannata Nance

LCN1.jpg

We are thrilled to introduce you to music educator extraordinaire, Leslie Cannata Nance! She is a multi-talented teacher and artist who has a genuine commitment to her students’ growth and development as musicians. Leslie has a deep, profound love for the arts and it’s evident in her work and performances. Check out her interview to learn more about the passion that drives her work as an educator and how arts education has impacted her life.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Seeing students be successful when they have otherwise not gotten the opportunity academically is my greatest achievement. Sharing my passion of music with others of all ages is not a “job,” but a joy. I absolutely love the subject I teach! I practice what I preach! My students know that I love what I do, and they know they have the opportunity to be successful like me because I share with them! I create relationships with every single student with whom I come in contact. 

  

What do you want your art to say?

Music is my life. I live and breathe music and performing – in any capacity. When I graduated from high school, I was faced with the decision of a) performing and making lots of money on Broadway or b) teaching the youth of America the importance of the performing arts. Obviously, I chose the latter. I have not regretted my decision to become a music educator one time! My students, ages 5 to 95, ALL know that I have a vested interested in them and want the best for them. I have worked with diverse school populations - at-risk students, high populations of impoverished families, special education – that require my constant attention to detail and a never-ending classroom based on relationship building.

 

What project are you working on now?

I am currently making the move from elementary music to secondary music - instrumental or vocal. I'm not quite sure what's in store for me in the near future, but I'm confident I will be the best!

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Oh, my goodness! There are too many to name and all for different reasons! To narrow it down to my top picks, though: 1. I absolutely love Bach and his attention to the musical elements in his compositions. 2. I'm a HUGE fan of The Who because of the lyrics and the drive in their sound. 3. Have any of you ever just spent time listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers? I could go on FOR HOURS! 4. We would need to have drinks and brunch for 9 days about The Beatles.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

How has it not? I live and breathe performance education. These children are our future, and I'm making that happen because of the interest my educators showed in me.

 

_______________________ 

Biography: 

Leslie Cannata Nance has been performing since she was a small child. With dedication and a lot of hard work, Leslie was given full scholarships to several universities to study music education. Leslie truly lives out her dream job every single day teaching children the love of music and performance. Leslie was hired before her college graduation in Pasadena Independent School District at Richey Elementary School as the Music Coordinator and Choral Director. Here, Leslie was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year. After a move to north Houston in 2009, she became the Music Coordinator and Choral Director at McFee Elementary School in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. At McFee, Leslie revolutionized the music department, as she was the third music teacher hired when the school had been opened for only two years. In May of 2018, Leslie accepted a position as music coordinator at Willbern Elementary School in CFISD.  In her first 3 months at this campus, she has implemented grade level performances and a choir, both of which were absent in years previous. Leslie gives every student in her classroom the opportunity to perform, as she feels this is one of the most important aspects of elementary music education. When Leslie is not teaching public school, she spends her time teaching private voice, piano, strings, and drama.

Leslie welcomes your questions and comments and has many resources she wants to share with you for free (including original musicals)! She can be contacted by email at leslie.nance@cfisd.net 

Punk Rock Changed My Life

by Josh Staub 

“Punk rock changed our lives.” Indeed. 

This quote from the Minutemen song History Lesson II, off their seminal double-record, Double Nickel on the Dime, could even be more poignant perhaps if D. Boon said, “punk rock saved our lives.” 

Growing up in Hanover, PA--in an area of the country known as Pennsyltucky for its excessive redneck population, where superstitious conservatism, incest, and drug abuse run rampant--it was clear we were all fucked. In the 70s and 80s, we watches as most of the major industries relocated to foreign countries, where slave labor could be utilized to make rich people richer and the folks of Hanover much poorer. Since then, many of the factories and warehouses around town have been left abandoned or converted into section-eight housing. Then there is the pervasive PA Dutch attitude, which can be summed up as Stoicism exaggerated to the point of stupidity and catatonia intermixed with staunch Christianity, zero-tolerance, narrow worldviews culminating in dangerous belief systems, that is, for anyone outside of the narrow consensus reality. Punk rock, for one, provided folks like myself--who find themselves outside this bogus consensus reality--reassurance that all belief systems, including this particular one that has been so harmful to me personally, are, to some extent, BS. Just make an acronym out of it, like Robert Anton Wilson, belief system = BS. So when the rigid social structure failed to indoctrinate and subjugate us rebellious youth and then attempted to paint us as fuck-ups and insane individuals, punk rock, along with art and literature, became a stop-gap. In fact, the punk ethos was able to deflect their attacks, illustrating how insane these people really were and how their BS was really legitimized madness. 

To me, music began and ended with Kurt Cobain. If you’re a fan of Kurt’s music, inevitably you’ve explored at least some of the indie bands he was constantly promoting--bands like the Raincoats, Meat Puppets, Half Japanese, Daniel Johnston, the Wipers, the Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, and so on. A modest, genuine dude, Kurt was always more comfortable talking about bands he was digging rather than discussing his own music and its unexpected success. He also introduced me to the novelist, William Burroughs, who he recorded an album with and often said that Naked Lunchis his favorite book. From Burroughs, I was introduced to the Beats, particularly Kerouac and his road journeys, Henry Miller, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Knut Hamsun, and Dostoyevsky. As another casualty of the war on drugs, Kurt reframed and deprogrammed the drug propaganda that was shoved down my throat at school regarding psychedelics. Also, Prophet Cobain brought me to esoteric Buddhism and, eventually, the kabbalah and Sufism, making his band name, Nirvana, quite poignant and ironic.  

Punk rock is about transgression. There is immense power in transgression, especially in regard to the deconstruction of harmful, limited BS. As a punk musician in Philly with Thee Peecock Angels, we hope to adopt the deconstruction and transgressional work started by folks like D. Boon and Kurt Cobain to disrupt and dismantle social and philosophical constructs that impede peace and progression. These gentlemen and women, through their music, have empowered and enlightened me. Without these folks, I would’ve given up back in high school. So, to this I say, punk rock saved my life. 


Purchase music here

Check us out on Facebook!

_________________

Biography:

Josh Staub is a punk rock guitarist/vocalist, an author of the Merchant of Unsellable Dreams and Land of Broken Promises trilogies, and a restorative justice facilitator in Philadelphia. His band, Thee Peecock Angels, can be listened to for free on Spotify and bandcamp. They can be reached through their Facebook page as well. TPA has released 8 eps and two full-length albums, Thousands of Dead Hipsters(punk rock homage to MDC) and Gentrify Me, which have all been recorded, engineered, and produced by Terminal City Records in North Philly, located in Josh’s attic apartment. 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Milton Washington

IMG_3498.JPG

We are thrilled to introduce you to an extraordinary mind and talent, Milton Washington.  Milton is a New York City-based artist who is self-described as, “A storyteller who writes a bit and has an iPhone with an eye.”  We’d describe him as a magical photographer, brilliant writer and an all-around exceptional creative.  We had the honor of asking him a few questions about his art, what inspires his work and we got the low-down on his new, upcoming project that we know you’re going to want to check out! 

F85C7A5B-801B-4A06-B2DE-9B130C7D66D2 - Milton Washington.jpeg

Read below to learn more about Milton and follow him on social media to stay connected!

4F67A082-F23C-40FD-9D69-706C6479E448 - Milton Washington.jpeg
C8F96352-46E9-4D6C-B719-C10ECDC8352B - Milton Washington.jpeg
467286A7-6F34-4695-9507-922763DCC51F - Milton Washington.jpeg

Why is your art important to you?

I feel my ways of expression connect deeply with people in a way that helps them face the truths of life and the truths of themselves. My art is important to me because it’s healing. 

 

 

What do you want your art to say? 

The things that most people don’t have the courage to say while inspiring them to speak the truth. It’s ok to flawed. It’s ok to feel less than. It’s ok to not match up. But find your place and your truth. 

MW SHOW.jpg

What project are you working on now?

A concept one-man show with photography, readings and storytelling rooted in my memoir. Heavy elements are balanced with hilarity of my life and the photographs are a demonstration of my perspective while also being a springboard into conversation.

 

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Being adopted from Korea at the age of 8, I started school for the first time in life. New language, new family, new culture. I’ve felt the deficits of illiteracy which weighs on my ability to consume academic aspects of life. All that to say, I’m not the most well-versed in art. But I do love MC Escher and the book by Herman Hess, Sidhartha. 

D9B97890-C14F-4CE0-A775-DB538F54CAAB - Milton Washington.jpeg

How has arts education impacted your life?

I’ve never had formal art education but my experience of isolation in South Korea has instilled a deep-seeded need in me to express. I need it to live. I believe the need to express should be on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. I believe my style and approach to my art is a both a function of who and what I am and my most effective tool to change the world. 

_____________________

Biography: Born in South Korea, Milton Washington was adopted and brought to the states in 1979 where he learned English and the American culture. Today, he lives in Harlem operating his Strategy, Sales Coaching and Public Speaking agency, Slickyboy Studios. He is months away from completing his memoir entitled Slickyboy. Slickyboy Synopsis: A fatherless black boy was born to a Korean prostitute a decade and-a-half after the Korean War. Left to roam his camptown with a pack of homeless kids, little Milton-ah fights, steals and drinks while his mother works long hours. All until the age of 8, when he’s adopted from the country that never claimed him, by a black military family from Texas, the Washingtons. Slickyboy is about the love and the loss of one mother, and a finding of another, with a lifetime of living in between.

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Lizzie Monsreal

IMG_3613 - Lizzie Monsreal.JPG

It is our immense pleasure to introduce you to an amazing, young Chicago-based artist, Lizzie Monsreal.  She is a college student with an absurd amount of talent!  Lizzie is a spectacular visual artist that has experience with a plethora of media including watercolor and charcoal.  Most recently, she has been working with textiles. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview her to learn more about what inspires her art, what current projects she is working on and how arts education has left an impression on her life and work.  One thing we’re absolutely sure of is that whatever medium Lizzie uses she is sure to create magic.  

Monsreal-Lizzie_Image#1 - Lizzie Monsreal-page-001.jpg

Why is your art important to you?

Art lets me be able to express my emotions and feelings in the best way through my imagination. Without it, I wouldn't be able to speak in my own voice through art. 

 

What do you want your art to say? 

Monsreal-Lizzie_Image#5 - Lizzie Monsreal-page-001.jpg

I want my art to be able to express important topics through my artwork, such as feminism, the environment. I also would like to be able to connect my artwork/experiences with my audience. 

 

What project are you working on now?

 My recent project right now is a sweater that I am knitting using a knitting machine with local yarn in Chicago. It is so far a prototype, but I am working with colors a lot and texture.

  

Who is your favorite artist?

 That is a hard one! I always find myself loving so many pieces of artwork. I guess one really good one I love would be, The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt. 

 

Monsreal-Lizzie_Image#3 - Lizzie Monsreal-page-001.jpg

How has arts education impacted your life?

Art education has impacted me in so many different ways as an artist and a person. It has helped me see from different perspectives as an artist and helped me understand all the different medias I can use through my artwork.

 

To see more art, follow Lizzie Monsreal on Instagram: @lizziemonsrealart

 

Biography:  

Lizzie Monsreal is a Latina Chicago artist, designer, and writer. She was born in Merida, Yucatan, but raised in Chicago South suburbs. She is currently a student at Columbia College Chicago who majors in Fashion & Costume Design. Other than studying fashion, she is also does freelancing in Fine arts, Illustration, and Writing. Her artwork is focused around personal growth, femininity, feminism, the environment, and anything else she feels needs a voice.