More often than not, students say things a whole lot better than we do as adults. That certainly was the case at an art exhibition earlier this month at the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) headquarters in New York City.
UFT and the New York City Art Teachers Association effectively used arts education to challenge students across the city to “unite against bullying” through their art and words and then brought them together to talk about the results. From elementary through high school students, these young artists, each in her or his profound way, gave all of us insight and inspiration and reminded us that they can and often are the most effective leaders in creating safe learning spaces and supportive schools.
The words they had written for each work of art were truly matched by the passion and wisdom they expressed at that wonderful ceremony. I can also say that Peter Yarrow’s heartfelt video gave them the feeling that they were part of his lifelong efforts and he part of theirs from the 1963 March on Washington to Operation Respect and to the many causes he has championed all these years. It was an honor to introduce Peter to them and to represent Operation Respect at this deeply meaningful arts education event.
Our thanks to Joan Davidson, George Altomare, and all the wonderful artists and teachers who gave us permission to share some of the fabulous art here. We would love to hear how the samples we share here inspire you and welcome the chance to feature your students’ work as well! Please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook page.