Although my class focus and work often directly engages with community I realized that a more in depth community engaged class would be of great interest and benefit to both my students and myself. I encouraged MacArthur Fellow Rick Lowe and Socially Engaged Art pioneer to apply to a The Breeden Scholarship program offered through our college, and began to plan this important class.
Once the class was informed on the theories of this type of art we canvased our community for partners. So many great opportunities presented themselves, but in the end we partnered with Safe Haven, a forward thinking after school program in the neighboring city of Tuskegee, Alabama.
Co-teaching with Rick was a pleasure, yet instructing a class of this depth in one semester was a challenge. In the end we created videos, a publication, paintings and performances, with each event using the content that the local youths had already been investigating. Tuskegee was one of the most volatile places during the civil rights movement. Instead of living in the shadow of this history, these children addressed it head on to find the stories that were missed while reexamining their past.