Art Education Faculty Receive Grant

August 11, 2021

Dr. Jennifer Bergmark and Dr. Blair Smith together with their community partners,  Dr. Asia Fuller-Hamilton, Principal and Sunni Ayers, Art Teacher at Garden Hills Elementary, received a $25,000 community grant through the University of Illinois Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program. This will fund a year-long community-based pilot project that is a collaboration between the art education program at the School of Art and Design and faculty and staff at Garden Hills Elementary School with a series of visiting artists and public art projects to investigate the role of the arts in revitalizing communities through civic engagement, collective care, and advocacy.

A primary goal of this project is making space for historically marginalized people from this school/community to gather, create and address its most pressing concerns. This will be facilitated through three arts projects lead by visiting artists with a practice of advocacy embedded in their creative work. The artists and projects were chosen to provide a platform for addressing community concerns, rebuilding trust between families and the school, and expressing a sense of pride in the school and community. Additionally, this project will provide hands-on community arts experiences for both undergraduate and graduate art education students, challenging students to consider implications of race in both curriculum and pedagogical practices while expanding the notion of art education experiences. These projects are intended to generate conversation about other possibilities, raise awareness of community assets and provide a foundation for future collaborations between the Art Education program and Garden Hills Elementary school.

students around large medallion painted on floor

Art Build Workers, photo credit: Joe Brusky

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