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March 6, 2015- April 4, 2015



Cristina Benz • Cynthia Berger • Renee Burnette • Christopher Deanes • Nancy Hinz • George Roberts • Judy Stone Nunneley • Jaci Smolund • Denny Sponsler • Melodee Strong

Teachers from around the country have begun to voice their frustration with the burdensome constraints placed on their work with children and young people by the administrative demands of the No Child Left Behind law. Educational policy at every level has become infected with accountability rather that being intelligently informed by responsibility.

Cristina Benz, Minneapolis Public Schools installation artist and teacher, has created work chronicling her continuing battle with the demands of the law vs. the needs of the children she meets in her classroom every day. Benz is also inviting other artist/teachers to create their responses, in their selected artistic styles, for a group show at Homewood Studios. The dual intent of the show is to call attention to the crippling effects of the law on both children and teachers, and to highlight the extraordinary work of our teacher/artists who wish to call this troubling situation into question.

Teacher/artists wishing to submit work, please click here for more information.

Opening Reception - Saturday March 14th from 6pm to 9pm

Gallery Talk - Tuesday, March 17th from 7pm to 8:30pm

Closing Party - Saturday, March 28th from 2pm to 4pm (including two awards given to artists at 3:30pm)

This show was both most challenging and most satisfying to mount: challenging because of the effort needed to gather ten working teacher/artists together to consider the issue, then meet submission deadlines, delivery deadlines, and copy deadlines - all while they were so deeply immersed in the hugely demanding lives of being a teacher; and satisfying because being engaged with artists so passionate about what they do reminded us of our own teaching life.

The question was: How has No Child Left Behind affected you as a teacher, as an artist, as a person? The answer, across the board, is - NCLB leaves me no time to build relationships with the children I am charged to teach. Denny Sponsler put it elegantly with his Loosing Loons ceramic pitcher - Because of failure to notice, we are loosing loon habitat, which will soon result in no loons. And because we are failing to notice what depriving children, in the name of reading and ciphering skills, access to the arts causes, we will soon loose our children to a semi-barbariac state in which they can read and write but not think or feel.

The opening reception was very well attended with remarks such as, "This is fantastic!" and "This is important" heard over and over again. The gallery was clotted of small groups of people, unwilling to leave, interested in talking about the show and the issue with others.

The gallery talk, attended by artists, teachers, community folk, and some local administrators! (good for them!), considered several issues focused on children's needs - on the difference between Eduction (with a capital E) and learning. New, and more rational, policy could have been written that night and there would have been wide-spread, in not unanimous, agreement.

At the closing party, Denny Sponsler won the Juror's Award and Cynthia Berger won the Audience Chocie Award.

From Javier:

This show was incredibly powerful. It spoke deeply about the passion that teachers bring into the classroom every day. It was inspiring and shed new light on both the struggle and joy that teachers experience.