About Project WATER US!

Curriculum created by literary artist/educator, Semaj Brown, collaborated and enhanced by professional art educators: Edith Withey-Visual Arts, Diane Kirksey-Music, Velynda Makhene-Cultural Mask Making with invaluable insights from Corinne Edwards, EdD. The design of Project: Water Us absorbs the full range of chapter participation.

Flint has enjoyed a long-standing history of providing community-based programs and services to ensure the holistic development of our youth. Often embedded in these initiatives is the opportunity to learn through experiences in the arts. But, the question begs: how can “art” be relevant when a community is in turmoil—when populations of children have been poisoned and denied something as basic as clean, safe water?

Popularized notions of the artistic, the creative, may conjure imagistic frivolity—indulgences of the elite class; but, The Pierians Inc., Flint Chapter— know differently. The Flint Chapter Pierians recognize art to be a healing balm as well as a powerful force for social change, and would like to thank the Pierian Foundation for this opportunity of service through the arts. Understanding that the creative process stokes imagination, and thus problem solving, Flint Pierians, offer this grant proposal to the Pierian Foundation in an effort to render artistic voice, and platform to the Boys and Girls Club of Flint participants to address the largest man- made public health disaster in recent American history.

Though the magnitude of callous neglect is unconscionable, a municipality poisoning 100,000 of its citizens, the Flint Water Crisis does not exist in a vacuum. Certainly, the struggle for justice has been a constant for peoples world-wide—ad infinitum, and artists have been a stalwart force, lifting pen, paint and poetry against oppression, striving for human rights— the promise of dignity.

Through the guided expertise of educators in literary arts, visual art, music, and drama, the Pierian Flint Chapter will rein focus by historically contextualizing the rich tradition of protest art or art of self- determination specifically realized in traditions expressed throughout the African American narrative. This contextualization will strengthen students’ ability to identify self and community within the social justice continuum, command understanding of scope while harnessing historical data of forbearer artists who faced and successfully forged beyond injustice. Vital to this innovative initiative is the sociopolitical contextualization of art.

Whether referencing quilts from the African Enslavement period where  African women surreptitiously stole away messages of revolt in a fabric of symbolism or examining the urban graffiti artists of today who scream colors from bridges, and walls of invisibility, such imagery will be sure to cultivate imaginative power with the children who have been profoundly marginalized. Project: Water Us was implemented in 2017 at the Greater Boys and Girls Club Made possible with a Grant from the Pierian Foundation, Inc.

Description of Project

Flint has enjoyed a long-standing history of providing community-based programs and services to ensure the holistic development of our youth. Often embedded in these initiatives is the opportunity to learn through experiences in the arts. But, the question begs: how can “art” be relevant when a community is in turmoil—when populations of children have been poisoned and denied something as basic as clean, safe water? Popularized notions of the artistic, the creative, may conjure imagistic frivolity—indulgences of the elite class; but, The Pierians Inc., Flint Chapter— know differently. 

The Flint Chapter Pierians recognize art to be a healing balm as well as a powerful force for social change, and would like to thank the Pierian Foundation for this opportunity of service through the arts. Understanding that the creative process stokes imagination, and thus problem solving, Flint Pierians, offer this grant proposal to the Pierian Foundation in an effort to render artistic voice, and platform to the Boys and Girls Club of Flint participants to address the largest man- made public health disaster in recent American history. Though the magnitude of callous neglect is unconscionable, a municipality poisoning 100,000 of its citizens, the Flint Water Crisis does not exist in a vacuum. Certainly, the struggle for justice has been a constant for peoples world-wide—ad infinitum, and artists have been a stalwart force, lifting pen, paint and poetry against oppression, striving for human rights— the promise dignity. Through the guided expertise of educators in literary arts, visual art, music, and drama, the Pierian Flint Chapter will rein focus by historically contextualizing the rich tradition of protest art or art of self- determination specifically realized in traditions expressed throughout the African American narrative. 

This contextualization will strengthen students’ ability to identify self and community within the social justice continuum, command understanding of scope while harnessing historical data of forbearer artists who faced and successfully forged beyond injustice. Vital to this innovative initiative is the socio-political contextualization of art. Whether referencing quilts from the African Enslavement period where servile African women surreptitiously stole away messages of revolt in a fabric of symbolism or examining the urban graffiti artists of today who scream colors from bridges and walls of invisibility, such imagery will be sure to cultivate imaginative power with the children who have been profoundly marginalized. 

Curriculum created by literary artist/educator, Semaj Brown, collaborated and enhanced by professional art educators: Edith Withey-Visual Arts, Diane.

Project WATER US! Triad, Problem Solving through the Arts

To accomplish the integration of social justice, and poetry/ spoken word, music application, visual art, and drama, Project Water Us’ interdisciplinary curriculum presents as a pedagogic triad: 

Phase One: Time Streaming Every session begins with fast paced 30 minute emergence in multi-media streams of: video clips, visuals, recordings, news articles, artifacts, mini lectures, and flash discussions highlighting art of self-determination or protest art from the following eras: a) African enslavement through Reconstruction, b) Harlem Renaissance through World War II c) Civil Rights/Black Arts Movement d) Contemporary voices of the Hip Hop generation. During this initial phase, students are assimilating data and research, developing a factual foundation from which to assess and imagine their creative voice. 

Phase Two: Reservoir Building concerns the acquisition of foundational tools through a survey of artistic genres: poetic arts/spoken word, visual arts, musicality, and drama. For example: the figures of speech, mask making and color palette, percussion as cultural pulse, and stage blocking will be taught respectively. Fundamentals of the arts are acquired during phase two per a 60 minute focus sessions lead by an art-educator with the assistance and reinforcement from several art-educator facilitators and Pierian volunteers. Students begin the process of honing artistic craft, developing artistic tools of empowerment. 

Phase Three: Water Walking is dedicated to defying the odds; it is swimming against the current in turbulent waters. The metaphor represents the ultimate in voice actualization, and self and community determination through platform building and creative expansion evidenced by student participation in collaborative stage set design and live performance. Project Water Us is scheduled to don the stage at the Flint Public Library February 4, 2017. 

The duration of this project is consolidated into 8-10 intense 90 minute after school sessions, two days per week for 4-6 weeks. The project will begin April 2017 and will end the in May 2017. 

The target demographic: ages 10-12. Generally, the children are from an economically challenged demographic and of African American ethnicity. The class size: 16-20 students. 

Goals

To provide Flint Youth with the tools of creative expression through a survey of artistic genres: Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Music and, Drama, to assert art as a relevant force for social change while historically contextualizing the impact of the Flint Water Crisis, and to stoke imaginative problem solving skills by developing a platform for youth voices to reverberate emotion and creative collaboration. 

Outcomes and Evaluations

Oftentimes accomplished persons recount the educational initiative or the teacher that helped to inspire them on to success. We have all heard those stories and may have one of our own to tell. Though we expect this project to yield many positive intangibles, we focus on quantitative measurable outcomes accompanied with evaluative assessments: 

  • Pre and post survey that measures student’s knowledge of basic integrated arts presented in project Water Us! 
  • Pre and Post attitude evaluation that quantifies student’s impressions of the present and future 
  • Pre and post survey that assesses student’s knowledge of protest art or art of self-determination 
  • Student directed interpretation of painted and decorated masks molds of their face 
  • Project Water Us methods will be evaluated by students through video statements and the written word. 

Email

email@example.com

Phone

(123) 456-7890

Address

123 Main Street Springfield, IL