Sharing resources from our Children’s Museum of Art and Social Justice - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 5, January 2021

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Sharing resources from our Children’s Museum of Art and Social Justice

Coloring Book Project

As we continue to engage students in virtual art experiences around social justice themes, we are also developing resources for all students while learning at home. KIPP Chicago students created our first CMASJ virtual project which lives on our website as a downloadable coloring book. A hard copy can also be purchased here.

This coloring book is a compilation of positive affirmations collected from our teachers. Students in grades Kindergarten through 8th from across the region chose an affirmation to illustrate and submitted their designs. Positive affirmations can be used to reprogram our thought patterns and change the way we think and feel about things. They are the messages we choose to tell ourselves over and over until we internalize and believe them. We hope that this coloring book can be utilized to practice mindfulness and meditation while reflecting on the affirmations on each page.

Thank you to Dr. Mahalia Hines, who inspired this project with her daily, positive affirmations. We love the idea of believing in our full potential and envisioning our highest selves through the consistent affirming of positive beliefs!


Alumni Artist Feature: Amare Williamson

Amare Williamson, a KIPP Academy Chicago alumni, is now a Sophomore at ChiArts, a prestigious and rigorous arts, and college preparatory high school. Amare’s beautiful illustrations of Black women are part of our latest CMASJ coloring book, and one of her pieces is our cover feature! Her inspiring artistic journey is just beginning, and we look forward to watching Amare use her artwork to engage in social and political issues. Below is a conversation with Amare.

When did you know you were interested in visual art?
When I was in Kindergarten, around that time, I used to always try to draw my classmates or teachers or anyone around me, I was always fascinated by facial features. I wanted to draw a lot. I was mainly inspired by my older brother. He was really into art. I wanted to do it also.

Is there someone in your life who has helped you discover your artistic talents?
My mom, most definitely. She always tells me stories, like how in preschool, I used to draw her as a stick figure. I used to always draw food; I like drawing food. She, to this day, always pushes me to keep improving, and she’d do anything to help me with my art. She sings, but she doesn’t do any visual art.

What are some of your favorite art media/ways to make art?
My favorite is traditional. Sketching on paper using charcoal or ink. I recently started getting more into digital art.

What inspires you and your art?
Mainly my culture inspires me a lot. Black culture. I love making artwork about my people. Anything that I feel like, in the media, or just everywhere, where we aren’t represented a lot. Young girls like me, we don’t have a lot of representation. I love to make artwork that makes us…shows us how beautiful we are and that we matter. I just love bringing the beauty out of Black people. I try to learn more about myself, ya know?

How has your experience at Chi Arts helped you grow as a young artist?
Before going to Chi Arts I wasn’t as passionate as I am now. They really push me with learning new things like sculpting and painting that I’ve never done before. And they’ve given me materials that I’ve never even heard of. The school is amazing, it has an amazing personality. People are nice there and accepting. It’s amazing. They push their students a lot. They’re really inspiring.

Do you know where you want to go to college?
It’s between two colleges- California Arts and Spelman. Either one of those. I’m still looking for more art schools.

Do you want to find a career in the arts? If so, what is your dream career?
Most definitely. I want to stick with making art. I love every art media so I will just go with the flow, try new things, practice certain things. I just really want to have my art out there and make inspiring art about political things…things that people are talking about.

A Visual Arts Lesson on Public Space and Confederate Statues
We are so excited to announce that our CMASJ lesson plan, A Visual Arts Lesson on Public Space and Confederate Statues, is part of the winning group of proposals for the ASU+GSV Creator Competition! This lesson for 7th-12th graders utilizes this Fireside Chat: Tearing Down the Statues with Deborah Quazzo and Mitch Landrieu to engage students in a re-imagining of public spaces without confederate statues. If confederate statues stand for divisiveness, hate, and racism, how can students design new art structures to illustrate equity, truth, reconciliation, unity, and hope?

Partnering with Urban Gateways
We are working to partner with more arts organizations around Chicago, expanding our strategic vision of offering engaging art and social justice experiences to our community. In seeking arts organizations with a similar mission of offering arts and social justice experiences to kids, we are grateful to be in conversation with Urban Gateways, which engages young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change. Our first joint project was a collaborative grant proposal to bring a 14-week visual art program to KIPP Ascend Middle Schoolers that would include work with two local artists.

Installing CMASJ Artwork in Schools
As we continue to prioritize creating warm, welcoming, and affirming school environments, we believe student-created work should always be on display as much as possible. We are beginning to install our Activist Soup portraits, along with the bios of each person, to create a beautiful, meaningful permanent fixture at every one of our 8 schools. Please consider a donation to our Go Fund Me to aid in our efforts!

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