It always amazes me how quickly a community can be build when art is involved. I was reminded about this last week, during the grad class I taught in arts integration and the creative process when I saw it happen again. During our five day class we created visual art, music, stories, poems and drama together and through that process, we became extremely close for a group of women who were practically strangers the day before the class.
I was first introduced to this phenomenon of art and community when I was getting my masters from Endicot College in Arts and Learning. With every class we took and every art form we experienced together, we got closer and closer to one another. Things came up. Things that were personal and raw and real. We supported one another. Laughed with one another. Celebrated with one another. It is amazing what we did for each other. And the commonality we all had – a love for art.
Art making breaks down walls and gives you a level of connection nothing else can. As you create art and share art, you build a safe environment for a group to learn and share and grow together.
This can be something we instill in the lives of our students. This sense of a tight-knit community that is supportive, encouraging and empowering. Imagine if we took the time – REALLY took the time to lay that foundation in our classrooms and allowed time for our students to create art together. It doesn’t matter if we see our students all day everyday or for 45 minutes a week; if we see a class of 25, a small group of 6 or a student one-on-one. If we take the time to create with them, the bond that is made will only intensify the learning possibilities throughout the year.
By the time Friday of our class last week rolled around we were hugging good-bye, vowing to keep in touch and continue our journey together. This happened years ago as well for me with my fabulous arts and learning cohort. Yes, life gets in the way sometimes: schedules and family, work and play, but whenever one of us gets a message from another, it’s like we were just together yesterday. That bond that art built lasts a lifetime.
Enjoy your day!
Ideas for building community in your classroom:
- Create a community piece of artwork
- Listen to music together
- Produce a small play or set of skits
- Have a drumming circle
For additional ideas and thoughts on this subject, see the post Artful Community or check out the “community” tag.