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    January 2018 Archive

    Meet the Teaching Artist - Shannon Feeney

    Posted Tuesday January 30 2018 at 9:21 pm in Education

    Shannon Feeney in the classroom
    One on one demonstration during mask making lesson.

    I am a teaching artist.  As a teaching artist, I employ a design process in the classroom.  The students and I research, plan, execute, revise, celebrate and envision each lesson together.  The purpose of this process is to help my students foster a deeper connection to their own creativity and imagination, thus encouraging further exploration and expansion of their own artistic appreciation, interests, and pursuits.

    Ms. Feeney modeling wearable art by a student
    Ms. Feeney modeling wearable art by a nine year old student.

    I am currently in a yearlong visual arts internship at the Dr. William W. Henderson K-12 Inclusion School, Lower Campus in Boston.  My students range from 3 to 6 years of age.  Henderson provides an enhanced arts experience and the school delivers support and enrichment based on an individual student's needs.  It's truly a magical environment, where a student's positive interactions and school/community service are celebrated.

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    And Our New Director of Programs is . . . (drum roll please)

    Posted Tuesday January 16 2018 at 11:52 pm in News

    Portia Abernathy Brown

    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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    Meet the Teaching Artist - Laura Evonne Steinman

    Posted Sunday January 07 2018 at 5:06 pm in Education

    Laura Evonne Steinman

    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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