According to the dictionary, boot camp can be defined as “a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.”
With this said, after spending about a week as a leader for an Art for Social Justice camp, I’ve decided this was a boot camp of sorts. A short, yet rigorous training of the arts and social justice. You see, in just four short days, eight hours a day, we’ve come to learn about art, social matters, ourselves, and each other.
For the students, this camp served as a instructional guide. It not only encouraged students to observe the role that art can play in our lives, but more so how it can make a difference. We discussed the importance of social justice issues and how art can and should be their solutions.
This camp provoked thought while nurturing a love for art and its endless possibilities. It placed significance on social matters, yet allowed for unlimited means to express them.
Nevertheless, if anything the teachers learned more. At least, I did. At the beginning of the week, I walked in timidly, unaware of how it would play out, if I would do well with my presentation, or if the students would even care. However, by the end of the week, I left empowered. Not only in confidence as a future teacher, but also in the hope of a younger generation to stand for these issues. I learned that art is not just about making statements; it’s about defining them. It’s about exploring the intrinsic will to improve social matters and use art as its tool. And I, as the art teacher, will have the privilege to instill this understanding in my students.
At the beginning of the week, I assumed this art camp would function as my practice before interning as an art teacher. I would take tips from my professor, get inspiration from my cohort’s lesson plans, and I would get hands-on experience with students in an actual art classroom.
However, I had no idea it would transform into a deeper understanding of art and its value in society. For the girl who gets bullied for who she likes, or the boy who uses art to speak his words when he is quiet, or for the girl who believes that animals deserve better quality of life, Art for Social Justice exclaims that these things matter and should be improved.