Right now, conventional education does not offer enough to individuals who are unique and learn in different ways. With your support, I hope to fulfill a project that would identify a bridge across those differences: across cultures, nationalities, ages, races and classes, and connect with individual learners in contrasting environments. Together, with the help of those I talk to on the road and those who support this adventure, we can discover not only the differences between learners, but also the connections to find a way of teaching that is both individual and universal.
I plan to accomplish this goal through launching a project called Painting the Way We Learn.
- I’m going to ask people about their experience as a student or teacher.
- Inquire about how and why they learn new lessons, both within school and outside of the school environment.
- And then, after hearing these stories of how and what people have learned in their lives, I’m going to share those stories with you—through photos, sketches, prose and paintings.
What exactly am I doing?
Powerful art holds meaning and has a purpose.
Over the next 3 months, I will interview students from across the globe about their experiences in their respective educational environment. I will photograph, sketch and then paint those I interview on the road in whatever environment they choose, whether it be in the classroom, when teaching, sitting in moments of reflection or learning in an untraditional way.
Throughout, I’m going to do my best to truly capture the essence of the people I meet as they learn from the world around them in whatever way works best for them. I’m extremely passionate about the possible connections between different stories I’ll hear and to discover how learning and education connect the different communities I visit. If and when I find these connections, I will share them on both the blog and in written form in addition to your art.
Why should you support this project?
Because these paintings are not of a distant person or place. They are paintings of a human story, a story to which you, as supporters, will have intimate access; you don’t just get a piece of art, you get the story behind the art. And along with the story comes an opportunity to connect to that person, because you may find connections between the way you learn and the way someone halfway across the world learns, too.
When making a pledge to Painting the Way We Learn, You will be part of building the bridge and finding the connections we all share.
Details of the project:
Throughout my time in Europe, before you get the final product, I will be posting the stories of those I interview on my travel blog. In addition, I’ll post the photos and some sketches of the people I meet so all of you can get to know the people behind the paintings. Each photo will have a caption containing a quote from my interview with that person.
Though I will primarily focus on the schools in each country, my encounters are not limited to those in the traditional educational environment. I plan to not only interview students, but also teachers and mentors of all ages, from a young Irish child who is just starting school to an older German teacher who is learning new lessons from his students each day.
I will visit schools in:
- Boulder, CO
- New York, NY
- Dublin, Ireland
- Bergen, Norway
- Berlin, Germany
- Marbella, Spain
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Split, Croatia
The end result will be the large, almost life-size oil paintings that I create of the chosen individuals I talk to. Every painting will be accompanied by written documentation of the individual’s story and his or her way of understanding new concepts and ideas.
By the end of Painting the Way We Learn, I will create 3 different teaching methods that schools can easily incorporate to shift the classroom environment and make in-class lessons more accessible to different learners. These methods will connect to a student's work and study habits outside of the classroom, as well as make the in-class experience more appealing to those who are very different.
The methods will be posted on the blog at the end of the project, and a short summary will be included with the product if you pledge $25 or more.
Your support will help fund airfare, other travel costs and lodging and will enable me to buy the materials I will need upon my return to the states to paint the people I have met.
In addition, your pledges will go towards time commitment and raw materials including:
- Some 10 canvases, both big and small
- Prints and manufacturing costs
- Brushes of all sizes
- Paint thinner
- Standing oil and
- Lots of oil paint
Learning, however different one’s process may be, is a deeply universal experience. You will see people at their most human as they face the challenges that education and life send their way.
A tad about who I am:
My name is Alicia and I am a recent high school graduate. This past year, I decided to start my own business working with kids as a tutor and educational support outside school. I've realized that two of my students in completely different subjects-- one in art and another in math-- can speak the same language when learning new lessons, and that realization is the reason I decided to launch this project…
After seeing these connections here in Boulder, I can only imagine the connections I might find across greater distances and communities.
I have travelled throughout many different and beautiful countries, from Morocco to Switzerland, and am passionate about talking to people and hearing their stories. Through my work as a tutor as well as from my travels, I've learned a lot about the power of asking the right questions and listening completely--without preconceptions--just openness.
Painting, for me, is the best way I know how to communicate who someone truly is. For this project, it’s the best medium I know to convey who people are and how, what and why they learn in life.
Do I expect to find an answer? In some ways, yes...
But everyone learns differently, and finding one universal answer to the way in which we, as humans, learn isn’t possible because I’m not sure there is just one answer. What I do intend to find are the connections—between a working, high school graduate in Boulder, Colorado and a young teacher in Bergen, Norway. I'm looking to find connections between two different learners who live completely different lives but still have moments of learning in similar ways.
Risks and challenges
Though I do have connections to schools in the countries I am visiting, there is always the possibility that my connections won’t be what I imagined. Though this is a risk, it is also part of what makes this project exciting because I can’t possibly know the experiences of people I will meet on the road and the stories I will hear.
When I return, I will have quite a bit of painting to do. It will take time to let the paint dry and to ship to your location, but I believe it will be worth the wait once you have your piece of work. I’m very grateful to have support in sending all of you the finished pieces, whether it is a postcard, a print or an original painting.
- (30 days)