I have the honor of teaching middle school, high school and college in the same day in the New Jersey public school system. I start my day at Maple Shade High School with a middle school art cycle class engaging students in grades 7 and 8 in exciting art projects as I transition into five high school classes ranging from Digital Mixed Media to Advanced Drawing and Painting and AP Studio art. I advise numerous clubs and organizations and drive to The College of New Jersey once a week to teach a course WGS 220 Gender and Pop Culture. My dual degrees in Art Education and Women and Gender Studies offer me a comprehensive understanding of how to reach the most marginalized students and through art and activism have our voices heard. I was fortunate to be honored as the 2016-2017 Burlington County Teacher of the Year and the 2017 Educator of the Year for the Maple Shade/Moorestown Masonic lodge. I am also the state Sexual Orientation and Gender identity (SOGI) representative for my county and I am an active artist who frequently exhibits work in group and solo shows. It’s imperative to practice what we preach as educators, lead by example and share our passions.
This leads to a project I am very proud to say is engaging all facets of my educational outreach. In November, I read about the new starbucks cup which included an illustration of over 100 people in a continuous line. This artist Shogo Ota inspired art frenzy the next day. While my students worked on their visual art quarterly I set out to draw 100 of them (grades 7-12 and some staff) in one continuous line. I toted a giant roll of white craft paper and drew, drew, drew! Each model was asked their age and if they had a ‘quote to share with the world’? It was a special time in which I was able to individually engage with students, draw them, make them feel connected, important, relevant and valued. I was eager to spread this concept and challenge others to draw 100 people in 1 day in 1 line. This trend flopped, however, after speaking with my AP and advanced drawing students we decided to set the bar even higher and wider. We wanted to draw/inspire others to draw 1 million people in one continuous line. Rules were simple and set: The artist had to draw from a live model, use one continuous line and no repeats! We decided we would number the drawings, post them to social media and digitally combine all 1 million once it takes off! The students helped design a webpage (www.1line1world.com), we traveled locally to draw people in the varying neighborhoods and have made various videos documenting this process.
My students know that ART CONNECTS PEOPLE IN A WAY THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. The mission of #1Line1World is to illustrate continuous contour portraits of one million people; to inspire others to draw people from observation; to bring the world together with one line, one face at a time. Each and every one of us are different and unique in our own way. Regardless of gender, color, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, ANYTHING… we are all a part of the same race – we are all human. With one line connecting us all, it shows that we are all equal despite what separates us.
I have had middle school and high school students drawing often and working toward our 1 million portrait goal. In addition I was able to get students at the College of New Jersey involved as part of their art activism course. It is a community effort starting in New Jersey and hopefully expanding internationally. Please join me and my brilliant students as we seek to unify everyone through one simple line! We need unity now more than ever!
Check out the video
2015-2016 Burlington County Teacher of the Year