Deep, Rich, Wide & Timeless [2013 ALT/space Retrospective]

ALT/space is about the work of artists who teach in schools, communities and prisons. ALT/space contributors advance the teaching artist field by writing specific, concrete, and powerfully personal stories about what they do and how they do it.

2013 on ALT/space gave us a deep, rich, wide, and timeless swath of stories about teaching artist practice. To celebrate the New Year, let’s take a look back at some of the most evocative and relevant ALT/space stories from the past year.   

As you read, I ask you: How can you ignore the deep expertise and passion for art and learning evident in these posts?  Some question, some observe and ponder, some struggle, but ALL show the power and impact teaching artists have in schools and communities everywhere. Please consider your role in advocating for the teaching artist field and the work we do by sharing ALT/space with others. I also encourage you to consider adding your own stories to the mix in 2014.

Happy New Year!!  —Malke Rosenfeld, ALT/space Editor

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January 
brought us Working with Children on the Asperger-Autism Spectrum by Holly Adams.  This is perhaps the best, most nuanced piece of writing I have read about working with students on the spectrum. Holly’s expertise in this area is applicable to all classrooms, arts-based or otherwise.

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In February Ryan Conarro wrote a highly nuanced and helpful post about what it means to collaborate with teachers. Read his thoughts in Listen to Your TeacherThis is a must read.

In March Alison Holland wrote Taking My Daughters to Work which highlighted the struggles of balancing family with a freelance lifestyle. I hope 2014 brings more discussions like this one.

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April! In her post Art Palooza! Engaging High School Students in Art History through Fashion Design  Chio Flores asked: “As a school visual arts teacher, one of the questions I constantly grapple with is how to engage teenagers in learning about art and artists. Why should they care about art history?” The answer is something we can all learn from. 

In all her posts, Anna Plemons reminds us and herself to question one’s assumptions about art making in prison. In May Anna told the story of Poem Number 99, about a writer wrestling with the unspoken expectations about what he should write.

In June, in her post Head Spinning,Kate Plows shows us that the world of educational technology may be upon us but what we do with it, and how we think about it, is up to us. 

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In July, Jeff Redman brought us the third of four stories on collaborating with a humanities teacher to create theater about modern day slavery. Read Bamboo: Tools of Storytelling—it’s a fabulous story.

Speaking of which, in August we celebrated two years of ALT/space online in the post The Well-Told Story!

In September I shared a series of interesting conversations I had with artist J.E. Johnson that proved to be generative and instructive on a lot of levels, especially about what it means to call yourself an artist who teaches. Read all three posts in the series: Beginning of Something New?, Interactions Between Art and Craft, and Wondrous Things.

In October Victoria Row-Traster brought us a story about the power of live theater…and all the work leading up to the magical moment when eleven-year-olds spontaneously began speaking the lines of Romeo and Juliet with the actors during the performance. Truly a marvelous story: Now You’re Really Speaking My Language.

In November Anglea Gallo shared a story about college dance students working to find their own unique artistic voice in This is Hard.

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Finally, December brought the excellent first post from new ALT/space contributor Meghan Zanskas called Planning for Play. She writes, “As an artist I find pleasure when playing around in the studio. As a teacher, I have long wanted to afford my students the same sense of creative freedom within the classroom. As a researcher, I’ve decided to see what happens when I try giving them that freedom.” 

What a great year.  See you in 2014!

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Malke Rosenfeld is the editor and curator of ALT/space online and its associated print section in the Teaching Artist Journal.  Find out more about Malke’s work as a teaching artist at www.malkerosenfeld.com.

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