Blog For All!

Meet the Teaching Artist - Szu-Chieh Yun

Posted Sunday April 02 2017 at 2:07 pm

Szu-Chieh Yun

Artist Statement

My current practice explores themes of migration, immigration and transformation with a focus on the Chinese diaspora.  As a first-generation Taiwanese-American, I am interested in the meeting of cultural identities.  Drawn from my personal experiences of crossing between distinct cultures and places, I create works in response to spaces I have traveled to, my surroundings, and in reflection of my own identity.

Due to my experience of studying in Beijing, I became especially conscious of the boundaries of nationality and culture comprising Chinese identity.  In China, as an American of Chinese descent, I encountered being both an insider and outsider simultaneously.  Although I participate in Chinese culture my identity is only partially recognized as Chinese.

I employ diverse methods of making by applying drawing, painting, digital photography, and sculpture.  I create spatial juxtapositions of different cultural scenes and objects to form tension and contrast thereby creating a third meaning.  My work aims to examine the effects of globalization in cultural blending, and the slipping away of cultural identity.  I am interested in dislocation between objects, people, and spaces.

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Kennedy Center Special Ed: NAEA National Convention 2017

Posted Wednesday March 22 2017 at 12:50 pm

Jenna Gabriel - Kennedy Center Manager of Education

Our colleague, Jenna Gabriel, Manager of Special Education at VSA International, shares some important learnings and a call for action in this blog post. Arts education matters and arts educators need all the support they can get to successfully meet the needs of students with disabilities.

I walk into the Hilton 2nd floor lobby to pick up my NAEA registration materials and one thing is abundantly clear: I am not in Kansas anymore. The largest education conference I've ever been to topped out at 400 people and when Patricia Franklin, the President of the National Arts Education Association (NAEA) welcomes 7,000 art educators to the NAEA National Convention, my jaw drops. There are more than 350 sessions each day to prompt noisy, messy, and vital discussions of how we ensure that every child receives a well-rounded education enriched by meaningful participation in the arts. I feel like Dorothy in the wonderland of Oz.

I had the privilege of spending 4 days in this glorious cacophony last week, when I traveled to NYC to present "Arts as Inclusion: Holding Ourselves Accountable in Reaching Students with Disabilities" at the NAEA National Convention. In addition to my own presentation, I got to observe sessions, participate in conversations, and connect with arts teachers from around the country. I learned a lot, but want to share 3 things that have stuck with me as I return to the real world here in DC:

1.) Our work at the intersection of arts and special education is vital—perhaps more so now than ever before.

Spare me a quick moment for a #humblebrag: My session was packed.  In a room with chairs for 50 people, between 80 and 100 tried to cram in. People sat on the floor in the aisle and by my projector, stood in the back and spilled out into the hallway. As uncomfortable as they must have been, these teachers were actively engaged the entire time, asking questions about IEPs and instructional practice, offering insights from their own classroom experiences, and staying after to continue the conversation.

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Employee of the Quarter - Teaching Artist Andy Holiner

Posted Monday January 30 2017 at 10:28 pm

Andy Holiner

The minute Andy walks in through the door and begins strumming his guitar, students' faces light up and smiles abound.  Everyone shares in Andy's enthusiasm, wanting you to join in and make music with him.  He cares passionately about each and every student he works with and takes the time to let them know.  Andy has been a teaching artist with VSA MA for over 20 years.  He leads the Creative Kids Program at the Boston College Campus School, where he brings music to students with significant disabilities and medical needs.  For the past two years, Andy has also taught songwriting and drumming to young students in a Department of Mental Health program, enabling them to write songs that help them express feeling and thoughts in a safe way.  Andy teaches with contagious gusto, care, and commitment—excitement that inspires those who are fortunate to work with him.  He has contributed immensely to the COOL Schools family of teaching artists, sharing valuable resources, ideas, and creativity.