Liz Harper

lizHi CCNY Art Education Community! My name is Liz. I am an artist and a graduate student in the Art Education master’s program at CCNY. For the last three years, I worked part-time at a daycare, teaching children from ages 3 to 5 in pre-school and pre-kindergarten classrooms. Unfortunately, the daycare closed down, so now I am in my third year of the masters and my final semester before student-teaching in the spring. Since I was in first grade, I knew I wanted to be teacher as I spent my childhood lining up my stuffed animals teaching them art and writing skills. My mom works as a teaching assistant in the suburbs, in which I grew up in the education field surrounded by educators. I often helped her out in the classroom. As I moved to NYC recently, I am taking the opportunity to explore the visual and cultural arts. Prior to CCNY, I have my AS in fine arts and my BS in educational studies from Saint Thomas Aquinas College, or STAC. Below, you will find one of my artworks I created over the summer. “Liberty” was drawn from the Statue of Liberty, representing my research topic through artwork.

unnamedAs a preservice art educator, I know that art education can be expanded through other areas besides school. During my junior year at STAC, one professor proposed the opportunity to collaborate on an artwork with a death row inmate at a maximum-security prison. Her class, Art in Prison also was a major influence. Comparing the pros and cons, I pushed myself and jumped on the project. This project consisted of exchanging letters (my name was anonymous), while drawing on the same artwork started by the inmate and exchanging the drawing back and forth through my professor. drawing back and forth on the same art piece. As the project went forward, I learned more information about the inmate and how the art classes he received transformed his life about wanting to give back to his community and the youth. Thus, my thesis topic was inspired through this exchange. artworks created by the youth who have been incarcerated and finding different themes.

My research topic is exploring artwork created by the youth who have been incarcerated or held in prisons and finding emerging themes within the artworks. During my research, some of the artworks that inspired the topic was through the University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project. My goal is to shed the stigmas and stereotypes that society associates with juvenile detention centers and incarceration in order to allow the youth voices to be heard. So far, I am using document analysis as my methodology and found themes such as identity, acceptance, and self-expression. While I have interviewed three people, some of these people don’t keep the artworks, so it will be my challenge to locate more artworks. I feel very confident in this topic after talking with three people and exploring the University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project.  

 

 

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