‘Back to Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy’ Project Includes WWU Art Exhibitions, Art Summits, Teaching Artists Partnerships with Bellingham Schools

Western Washington University is presenting “Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy,” a project throughout the academic year focused on the junctions of art and education that will include a partnership with the Bellingham School District, Western Gallery art exhibition, a summit with international and local artists, and a Black History Month summit with national artists, performers and participatory workshops.

Many project events are free and open to the public.

The project includes:

Western Gallery Exhibition

Jan. 9 to March 2018; opening reception Jan. 24, 2018.  

Back to the Sandbox brings together an international group of artists who explore the critical state of education. The exhibition is based on collaborations of prominent artists, scientists and educators and includes works of art, scientific and educational experiments, and archival material.

Works by Luis Camnitzer (Germany/Uruguay); James Duignan (Chicago); Priscila Fernandes (Portugal); Michael Joaquin Grey (New York); Ane Hjort Guttu (Norway); Markus Kayser (Germany); Eva Koťátková (Czech Republic); James Mollison (Kenya/Italy); Palle Nielsen (Denmark); and Petr Nikl (Czech Republic) are included in the exhibition.

The curator of the exhibition, Jaroslav Anděl, Ph.D., is an independent curator and author of over 40 books on contemporary art. He was artistic director of the DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague from 2009 – 2014.

“By asking radical questions, art becomes a radical pedagogy which transcends institutional boundaries and inspires mind-changing narratives,” Anděl said.

Art and Radical Pedagogy International Summit

Jan. 27, 2018 – Performing Arts Center (PAC) Concert Hall.

Renowned artist Luis Camnitzer will give a keynote address on the pedagogy of art. Visual, dance and theater artists will engage the audience in creative approaches they use in their education-oriented art projects.

Panelists will include include: Jaroslav Anděl, curator; Eva Bakkeslett, artist; Doug Banner, CREATE director, WWU Wooding College of Education; Andrew Brown, professor of Performance Art, WWU Fairhaven College; Luis Camnitzer, artist; Deb Currier, WWU Theater faculty; Karen Dade, co-director, Woodring College of Education; William John, Lummi language teacher; Pam Kuntz, WWU Dance faculty and artistic director of Kuntz and Company; Vanessa Oliveira Andreotti, Canada Research chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Kristina Lee Podesva, artist.  

Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy Black History Month Summit

Feb. 9-10, 2018, PAC, Concert Hall, and Wilson Library.

Activities on Feb. 9 will include a Black History Month cultural reception with welcoming performers, an “Africa to America” participatory performance workshop and African Diaspora Fashion Show. Activities on Feb. 10 will include African descent visual and performing arts featuring local and non-local Black artists and art collectors to exhibit, perform and participate in education panel discussions on the works of Black artists. The panel discussions will highlight topics such as: art as radical pedagogy; current challenges in the profession; learning to invest in Black art; understanding the world of Black art collectors; the social movements of Pan African artists, critical race theory (CRT) and racial identity development using art, Black renaissances, and understanding culture and traditions through art pedagogy.

Panelists will include national artists such as Knowledge Bennett; national art dealer Alitash Kebede; art collector Edward Moore, and Nyanda Miata Donaldson, co-partner/curator of Gross Art Gallery. In addition, a visual artists’ gallery walk, student talent showcase, mural painting and participatory social justice arts workshops/sessions will take place the afternoon of Feb. 10.

The Black History Month Summit is being co-hosted by members of the Black Student Union, African Caribbean Club, African Descent Faculty & Staff affinity group, Snohomish/Everett NAACP, and individuals from the Bellingham community. The event is being organized by the Black History Month planning committee, which includes representatives from each of the groups listed above.

Partnership with Bellingham School District

This component of the project included an in-service professional development training for Bellingham School District teachers at Whatcom Middle School Commons on Oct. 19, 2017, led by trainer Roger Fernandes, that looked at the role of storytelling and art in the education of children through the lens of Coast Salish tribal cultures of the western Washington region.

Also included in the partnership are five 30-hour residencies. Teaching artists will develop a critical arts education integrated curriculum with school district teachers, providing on-going professional development throughout the year. Some component of the project will be displayed or performed during Children’s Art Walk on May 4, which will include K-12 student exhibits and performances.

Participating Teaching artists include Deb Currier, WWU Theater faculty; Pam Kuntz, WWU Dance faculty; Doug Banner, WWU CREATE, Rachel Simpson, AAWC Visual Arts, and Roger Fernandes, member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians and an expert in Native American Studies.

The “Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy” was initiated through a generous gift from the Dreier Family. Doug Dreier graduated from Western’s College of Fine and Performing arts in 1996 and taught in Baltimore inner city schools. Additional funding was provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and various WWU programs. The yearlong project is continuing to seek additional funding and volunteers for all events.

Western’s campus community is particularly encouraged to attend project events and WWU faculty are invited to add these events in their winter course syllabi to encourage Western student attendance and participation.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017