TISA students project their call to save the nea on the walls of Taos Plaza
In September 2016, just before The Paseo nighttime art festival, artist-activists, Kyle Depew and Anna Ozbek of The Illuminator Collective led a workshop in Megan Bowers Avina’s classroom at Taos Integrated School of the Arts (TISA). The Paseo-sponsored workshop introduced students to The Illuminator’s political art guerrilla projection techniques, which were central to the Occupy Wall Street movement. The youth learned the principals of “urban projection” – the use of technology, art, cinema, light, and story in an urban landscape to influence social change.
Fast forward to March 2017 when Ms Avina’s students expressed their concern over the new president’s apparent plan to de-fund the National Endowment for the Arts.
As any sensitive teacher or parent is likely to do, Megan encouraged her students to find a constructive outlet for their anger. They revisited the principals of peaceful political expression they learned in Kyle Depew and Anna Ozbek’s class. They created images, wrote statements, used projection mapping, video and rapid-response meme generation to create a group statement.
At sunset on Thursday evening, March 30, the students will present their art projection project to the community of Taos. Although it can’t be called “guerilla art” because they did get town and plaza business approval for a peaceful assembly, it will be a lesson in using art to start public discourse. It will also be an example of The Paseo Project’s vision to “transform art through community and community through art.”
Megan Bowers Avina says of this process, “Activism and social awareness always have a place in my curriculum. Growing compassionate learners is a priority in my classroom. I presented the idea of a world without arts funding to the students, assigned them the task of researching the NEA and sharing their findings with each other and me. Every student was given the choice of participation and all chose to join in creating an illuminating protest in honor of saving the NEA.”
At a Glance
WHAT: TISA Illuminated Protest in Support of the NEA
WHEN: March 30, 2017, 7:00-8:30pm
WHERE: Southside of Taos Plaza
MORE: The Illuminator art collective