The Student Art

The Student art is a wonderful collection from students in the Alternative Learning Academy. Many students experienced their first art class with me and had many insecurities to overcome before we could make the art. But they were incredible, challenging, and the small rewards they experienced in the art making was powerful. 

The hand sewn dolls included learning about a straight pin, a sewing needle, how to design, make a pattern, pin the pattern to fabric, cut the fabric out, learn the stitches (to my liking!), sew all the embellishments on, and complete the doll. It was amazing to see. Then all the dolls were donated to guests at the SHELTER OF FLINT, a s a community art project. 

Often in traditional art programs there is much focus on skill and learning the principles of design, yet I have found the art making becomes more meaningful when students are encouraged to include personal voice. 

Giving students the control of their content, encouraging research to what women have done before in the studio, and developing art making skills are all important elements of my teaching practices. I use a participatory art pedagogy influenced by Black feminist theory


Posters to Inspire and Included


This poster is available to teachers free as a large PDF.  If you are interested just contact me through the site. This is a great visual aid to start the conversation on Black artist, to show historical works and contemporary work in a plethora of media. Artists included: Harriet Powers, Henry Owassa Tanner, Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, Edmonia Lewis,  Faith RInggold, Augusta Savage, William Edouard Scott, Bob Thompson, Dox Thrash, Morrie Turner,  James Van Der Zee, James W. Washington, Kehinde Wiley, Deborah Willis,  Romare Beardon, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, jean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson, Dave, the Potter, Elizabeth Keckley, Thomas Day, Lois Mailou Jones, and Selma Burke

Announce coming events


Details of the poster. The actual printed poster at full size is about 2x7 feet  large, easy to refer to when teaching and a great aid for student reflection.  Further is shows the incredible wealth of contributions from people of African descent in the United States in a variety of fields. Some media used: photography, drawing, painting, furniture making, comics,  mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, quilting and printmaking. 

National Core Art Standards

Core Art Standards for the Visual Arts


The Summer Teacher Institute offered by the National Gallery of Art are intense, illuminating and incredible! When I attended I learned about Renaissance Art. 

There is a fellowship that is offered to cover expenses. I was awarded this fellowship in 2016 to attend the week-long workshop.

Teacher Institute, The National Gallery of Art

Crafting Freedom, NEH


A great experience that I have had the opportunity to participate in during years past has been the Summer Teacher Institutes offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Here are links to the two I have been selected to join. What is great about these events is that if one is selected a wonderful stipend if given. 

Crafting Freedom

The Crafting Freedom Website provides educators with a  user-friendly resource on the African-American experience  during the era of slavery. This information is such a great way to make connections to art in the classroom.

Crafting Freedom

What do you do in your classroom to build equity between the girls and boys? How do you teach them about creative equity? 

Look at the Guerilla Girls site for more information about inequality in the arts.

The change starts in each classroom with kindergarten--try a year of teaching just women artists and see what happens.

Will you teach only women people of color for a year? Will you see how out of balance and non-inclusive your professional practice is? 

Will you be a true agent for change in the arts or just support the status quo?

Guerilla Girls

Monsters and Heroines, NEH


Connecting the arts to literature P. Connors, PhD and Lissette Lopez Szwydky-Davis, PhD, professors at the University of Arkansas show how adaptations in contemporary classes can be rich and rewarding for teachers and students. 

Remaking Monsters and Heroines    

Adapting Classic Literature for Contemporary Audiences

A two-week institute for thirty-six schoolteachers on Frankenstein, Cinderella, and the adaptations of these classic texts.

Connect the arts to literature

Monsters and Heroines

"The cycle of OUr lives" and the symbolism of the voices

The Eggs


The Egg is the beginning; For some they clothed, fed, loved encouraged and for others not so much. The eggs in the gallery are in different places, some are protected, some are hidden, some are in the corner--just like our children.  

Students here are wet felting to make their eggs from raw wool and as you can see, having fun in the process.

The Caterpillar


The Caterpillar demonstrates the start of students working as a team collaboratively. Students volunteered to make a section and this control of choice is important to me as a facilitator of art making. 

Twenty three of the 74 8th graders chose to make a section. 

Sadly, this entire piece and the leaf next to it was stolen from the University of Michigan Art Gallery in Flint during the show. 

The Chrysalis


The Chrysalis holds crumpled pieces of paper with African patterns on the back that children wrote upon. The children wrote about things in life that influence their lives. Some influences were funny, sad, touching, hilarious and some were based in the realities of their young lives.

Included in the Chrysalis are several spent bullet shells, to symbolize the anger students felt upon the death of their 5th grade classmate, who was killed in a retaliatory drive by shooting. 



7th and 8th Students were encouraged to make the butterfly body while 3rd graders made the sheets o watercolor paper that were used to be cut into wings. Each has a name tag, illustrating the individuality of students, but not all butterfly bodies were finished with full details to the body or the inclusion of wings. 

This creative allowance illustrates the lived realities of our children--not all children are  "finished" as some adults would like them to be as children, many are still in the process of development and the butterflies illustrate this.

Leaf Making


This is one of my favorite students! He needed to walk and sew--and he did such a wonderful job! 

Students in the 8th grade did 10 thumbnail sketches, chose one, designed a pattern, made the pattern, cut the leaf shapes, learned to use a straight pin, a sewing needle and the act of sewing in this part of the project. 

Nearly all had never sewn before in their young lives. 

The Installation


The butterflies hang from bicycle rims donated by Barbara Assenmacher (THANK YOU Barbara!). 

The leaves the kids made covered the rims and added a sense of nature to the projects, bringing  to the viewer more organic textures. 

Some butterflies were on the floor with no wings, some were intertwined in the spokes, some were held by others--just like in real life. The project illustrated to students not only the life cycle and the science of the butterfly, but it allowed the kids to talk about the reality of their young lives, births, death, happiness, sadness--life.