Hi! My name is Cindy Ferrer and I’m an educator, artist and photographer. I have been involved in the arts since I was a young kid and I always knew I wanted to be an art teacher but most of all I always knew I wanted to be an artist who did something positive for my community. I studied photography in my undergrad and graduated with a B.S degree in sociology and studio art. Finding a program that combines social justice, activism and art education at CCNY was a dream come true and I have learned so much these past 3 years.
The influence that art education has had on my own life has been a major pre-cursor in solidifying my purpose as an educator in the arts. Art education has shown me my true value and lead me into a journey of self-discovery and deep reflection that has healed my traumas and reminded me of the true creative genius that lives within us all.
Now at the end of my road towards receiving my Master’s Degree in Art Ed. I have been sparked by own experience with art education and focusing on writing a thesis paper on how students view the importance of art-making on their own self-worth and value. Growing up in lower-income communities and coming from immigrant parents the connection to having low self-esteem was something I had never considered until now. Research shows that people who come from low-income communities and individuals in poverty believe themselves to be fundamentally flawed and any achievement is tempered by a lack of confidence and subconscious self-loathing. From my observations of students in low-income schools I have also experienced students have behavior issues, such as lashing out and I have listened as students talk about themselves and feel incapable in their abilities. It is prevalent that the connection to low self-worth exists and is much more traumatic for students who are living and growing in poverty. My research will interview students in hopes of understanding the challenges they face in their communities and the benefits they have acquired through art making in their art classes. I will also creatively examine images created by these students to evaluate their perspective on what self-worth and the arts mean for them through photo voice. My hopes for this research is that educators and policy makers will begin to deeply understand student perspective and how the arts create an empowering learning experience that can uplift student self-perception and transform students from low-income communities into students with infinite potential.