Around the UFT

NYCATA/UFT Art Education Conference

Drawing interest

Jonathan Fickies

Collaborating at the mural workshop are (from left) Tanya Cintron of the Ella Baker School in Manhattan; Rick Wardle of MS 839 in Brooklyn; Daisy Banegas of PS 101 in the Bronx; and Gwen Brown of PS 83 in the Bronx.

Jonathan Fickies Angela Pontecorvo of PS 1 in Brooklyn creates an old-fashioned selfie using tempera.

“Art Education is the Key” was the theme of the 37th annual conference of the New York City Art Teachers Association/UFT. But Joan Davidson, the NYCATA president and conference coordinator, told the 180 participating educators that “we are the key, too, because we create a nurturing environment and build our students’ capacity to trust their knowledge, heart and instinct.” The Oct. 28 event at Beacon HS in Manhattan honored Artist of the Year Linda Stein, an activist, educator and creator of two traveling exhibits — the Fluidity of Gender and Holocaust Heroes. Also honored were Albert Justiniano, PS 753, Brooklyn; Deborah DeStaffan, HS for Health Professions and Human Services, Manhattan; Margaret Weber, Evergreen MS for Urban Exploration, Brooklyn; Patricia Lewis, Thomas Edison HS, Queens; Judith Schwartz, New York University; and art advocate Amanda Guest. Second-year teacher Chuck Kushla of the Urban Assembly School for Design and Construction in Manhattan has been attending the conference since he was a graduate student. Also an Art Club moderator, he’s always looking for new projects. “Because the workshops are led by practicing art teachers, you can usually find things,” he said. He came away with tips about “leading a bigger team of people” at a mural workshop that, he said appreciatively, “was very hands-on.” Janet Lombardi of PS 60 on Staten Island teamed up with son Zachary, of PS 200 in Brooklyn, to present one of the 28 workshops. “We shared the work we are doing in our schools around environmental activism in the art classroom,” Janet Lombardi explained. Afterward, she attended a session on using simple materials available in most schools to paint portraits. “It was so wonderful,” she said, “and easily adaptable to all grades.” 

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