Above: Wit López, Those Three Kings Over There, detail. Image used with permission of the artist.
Moore College of Art & Design invites art educators from the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies to share and listen to first-person narratives from the field of art education.
The webinar, “LGBTQIA+ Art Educators: Stories & Strategies from the Field,” happening March 27 at 11 am, features Moore graduate student Meghann Altomare MA '21 as facilitator, and panel members Wit López, Dani Gonzalez and Amanda Pigott, with time built in for attendees to contribute their own reflections. Learn more about the panelists.
Watch our Instagram Stories for a multiday takeover by Wit López March 21-27. López is an award-winning multidisciplinary maker, performance artist, writer and cultural advocate based in Philadelphia, who will be sharing their work and activism in advance of the event.
Altomare, López and Director of Art Education Lauren Stichter recently came together in an online chat to discuss how the symposium came about. This discussion has been edited for clarity and length.
Stichter: I have had this idea for a while to have conversations either about or with community members from specifically art education, the LGBTQIA+ community, and wrestled with it for a while because I don't identify within that community myself, but I hope I'm a good ally. I spoke to Meghann about what they might be interested in doing here. And then I reached out to the National Art Education Association LGBTQIA+ interest group. Past President Courtney Wilkins is a colleague of my mine down at Virginia Commonwealth University. And I said, I'm thinking about this idea, can you recommend folks. And that's how we met Dani and Amanda.
Altomare: I was really excited at the idea of doing this. That's what my thesis is centered around, and it makes sense that we would be in conversation about it. And I think something that's always on my mind is who has this power, who has the power in this group, who's left out. So it was important to have a diverse group of panelists. That was like the first thing that felt really important. And then also what was really driving me was I was so excited to be able to broaden my network of educators who I would have things in common with and just want to share experience with. And I think that's really where the ideas for it kind of came forward, where we just started talking about the things that were happening for us, or like things we had questions about and that was like the most exciting part of the conversation. And it ended up being like okay like who is this for actually. And it was for us, as LGBTQIA-identified educators, and then I found Wit on Facebook.
Stichter: We want to be intentional about inviting this particular community, to be the center of the dialogue that's going on, and its allies, if they want to hang out and listen and learn from the experts. I think that there are plenty of straight white women, specifically cis-identifying women doing lesson plans about inclusive practices, but they do not have that first-person narrative that you all bring in much more diverse frames than I possibly can. Wit, what helped you say yes to this experience?
López: Talking with Meghann a little, I was like, definitely, this sounds great. Also, I just really love Moore College. I think Moore does really great work. And it is contributing to the lives of a lot of very well-rounded artists and arts educators in the greater Philadelphia area, so it's exciting.
Altomare: It's going to be a space for us to have a conversation about the things we're facing as out teachers. Using different honorifics or dealing with administration, dealing with your students, things that we have to navigate on a daily basis. And in an environment where it can feel really isolating or it feels like you're the only person dealing with it, and actually we're not. So, having that space for us to just be together and talk about it.
Stichter: And modeling for your students in the classroom, too. I mean a big part of that is a huge responsibility. It very much has a huge impact on millions of children when we have teachers who are comfortable in their own skin. I think that those stories are so important to our students. This should be a place where hopefully it's empowering others to feel like there's a safe space where they can ask questions either of our panelists about their own process or share some of their own.
Altomare: One of the things we talked about in our first conversation, and then also I talked to a little with Wit, is just like applying to schools or just art educator jobs in general. Like, do you put your pronouns on your resume? How do you introduce yourself? Do you dress a specific way that either hides or enhances? That's kind of what we mean by strategy. How did you go about telling the administration your pronouns? As a pre-service educator, I'm curious how it's gone for other people. I made choices for student teaching that I don't think I would make going into a full-time teaching position. And I want to know how to navigate that or how other people have navigated it.
Stichter: I think we're trying to say, here's what here's a perspective you should consider. And we know that that will have an impact on how you teach moving forward, because you're going to grid off your time to reflect here, think, hopefully go back and continue conversations with colleagues.
A link for the Zoom webinar will be emailed to registered attendees 24 hours before the event. ASL Interpreter will be provided by DHCC.
$10 for General Admission
$5 for Moore Alumni
FREE for Moore Faculty, Staff, and all Students from any college or university
1 Professional Development / ACT 48 Hour is included with this session.
If you have any additional questions or accommodation needs please contact Lauren Stichter, Director of Art Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267.433.8312.