Posted Tuesday January 16 2018 at 11:52 pm
The VSA MA family is thrilled to welcome Portia Abernathy Brown to the team, as our new Director of Programs! In this new position, Portia will be overseeing programming both in our Education and Cultural Inclusion programs, as well as supporting development efforts.
Personally and professionally, Portia is committed to VSA's mission to promote the meaningful inclusion of all people in our cultural community and could not be more excited to have the opportunity to do the work she loves with a team that shares her enthusiasm and passion.
Portia was inspired early on by a family member with a disability to pursue a career in special education. She began working for Denver Public Schools as an Affective Needs teacher for students with Social and Emotional disabilities. In the classroom, she drew on her own background and students' interests to infuse the arts into the curriculum to deepen learning, increase engagement, support self-expression, and connect with general education peers. It was clear from those experiences how powerful the arts are as levers for equity, access, community, creativity, learning, and inclusion.
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Posted Sunday January 07 2018 at 5:06 pm
Hello, I'm Laura Evonne Steinman, Community Artist/Educator/Activist. I have been making a creative mess since I was a little kid building forts. I didn't like the color pink until I was almost 40 years old, go figure.
I believe that our lives are nurtured and transformed by creating art together! I create Art in and with community members. I love working on collaborative projects that are for rituals, social justice rallies, environmental actions, and just because we need more creative outlets in our lives! My main mediums of creating are with materials that have been discarded or passed along -- already used. From textiles to containers to stuff on the clearance rack. I'm a big trash picker and thrift store shopper. You probably would not find me collecting materials at a traditional art store, but instead at a yard sale!
My artistic experiences come from a web of many places and people. From growing up and traveling, to hanging out with my Aunt Brenda volunteering on a community farm, to always moving furniture around to create sacred spaces. The suitcase that I travel with comes from me having a learning disability when I was growing up in the early 80’s -- when folks didn't know what to do with me. I didn't like school and found my joys in creating art and exploring in nature. I got through the K-12 education system with a bunch of support and thrived in art school. In undergrad I studied Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design and then went on to receive my Master of Art in Art Education with a concentration in Community Art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Posted Saturday December 16 2017 at 8:53 pm
I am an artist-educator. As an artist, I use anthropomorphic animals in illustrations, comics, and animations as a vehicle for self-expression, as these characters veil reality in a way I find more comfortable to make, as well as for viewers to consume. I believe that by engaging in artmaking about one's many faces, people can explore uniquely personal realms of feeling and social understanding.
I use my art practice as an opportunity to test my morality. I ask myself, "What would I really do in this situation?" and often make my character choose something uncharacteristic of me, in order to ponder the potential results and repercussions. I also work to illustrate the world around me in a way that fosters a convincing sensation of place, concerning both private and public spaces. I explore the idea of the persona, as well as the nature of intimate spaces.
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