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  • Writer's picturemary7088

Wall Talk on Zoom

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

In June 2021 ICA Wall Talk wrapped up the year and we distributed the last of 1,200 student publications across BPS! I feel so proud to work as a Teaching Artist on this team. It was amazing to me that throughout winter 2021 teaching on Zoom could turn into something creative. The pandemic made me so skeptical of the possibility that my jobs would continue to live and breath the way they did before. How do you teach Writing and Performance with out being close to someone?! Our Wall Talk team figured it out somehow! We made some beautiful things this year. What is possible when your art materials are the internet? Turns out A LOT is possible! Our director had the idea to document all the multidimensional projects we did over the year in a small booklet, including prints of art currently in the museum as well as lesson plans we developed. Each activity was developed with an eye for self care, as that was clearly a shared goal we all (students as well as teachers) had throughout the year. We were inspired by Mass MoCA's Care Syllabus which you can see here. The books were distributed with art supplies and packaged in a tote bag. The idea is that it could function like a Zine or an adult coloring book, an art object that students could engage with and use for their own fulfillment throughout the tedium of the pandemic. After we collectively planned, edited and contributed lesson plans, the ICA sent it off to a designer and by May they had printed all the copies we would need to distribute the work as widely as possible. Staff members drove the books to our BPS partner teachers and they gave them out to their high school and middle school youth in June, just in time for graduation! Below you can see some images from the Art Kit we made.

Each lesson plan we printed was inspired by a piece of art in I'm Yours, the exhibition our groups had focused on all year. One thing I love about this job is really going in depth with an art show, and working with each piece day in and day out for several months. Even on Zoom, the art work of the selected artists was powerful and moving. My teaching practice grew as I infused writing, dance and visual art excercises with tools from the internet. Apps like Canva, Youtube, Padlet, Sound Cloud, Pandora, Brush Ninja and Zoom became tools for creation. We worked with students to explore how to be active rather than passive as we engage with the web. How can we take something geared for consumers and repurpose it to express ourselves? And repurpose it to connect with people across the world? How can self expression, authenticity, abstraction, experimentation, curiosity and joy be communicated through screens? We explored it all and found some amazing new ideas. I am so happy my organization had such an innovative idea to celebrate this work. Along with the Art Kit Book Bags we sent a digital care package to the Wall Talk specific schools. My colleagues Dzidzor and Rimi Malick designed and animated this video, and I got to dance for them! Dzidzor wrote the words after we had brainstormed a bit together. We were inspired by Eiko Otake's Delicious Movement Manifesto.

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