Standing Still Is Not an Option

School Children Using Art for Social Change

Edited by:
Christa Boske, Kent State University

A volume in the series: New Directions in Educational Leadership: Innovations in Scholarship, Teaching, and Service. Editor(s): Noelle Witherspoon-Arnold, University of Missouri-Columbia. René O. Guillaume, New Mexico State University. Emily Crawford-Rossi, University of Missouri.

Published 2019

This book captures the experiences of children in U.S. public schools and how they utilize artmaking to disrupt injustices they face. These first-time authors, who represent school children, parents, teachers, and community leaders, focus on artmaking for social change. Their first-tellings provide thought-provoking insights regarding the impact of artmaking on their capacity to promote social justice-oriented work in K-12 school communities.

As the U.S. continues to experience significant demographic shifts, including increases of homeless children, children identified with learning differences, thousands of refugees and immigrants, children living in poverty, children in foster care, and increasing numbers of Children of Color, those who work in schools will need to know how to address disparities facing these underserved communities. These U.S. demographic shifts and issues facing underserved populations provide opportunities for children, teachers, families, and school leaders to deepen their understanding regarding their experiences within their communities and K-12 schools as well as ways to interrupt oppressive practices and policies they face every day through art as social action.

Authors call upon decision-makers who serve children from disenfranchised populations to utilize artmaking to create equal access for children to explore social justice, equity, reflective practices, and promote authentic social action and change through artmaking. Authors reflect on this artmaking process as a catalyst for increasing consciousness, creating imaginative possibilities, and facilitating meaningful change in schools. Authors urge readers to create equal access art spaces to build bridges among schools, families, and communities. Together, they contend that artmaking promotes courageous conversations and encourages the exploration of what it means to live this significant work.

Praise for Standing Still Is Not an Option

Standing Still Is Not an Option is a non-traditional leadership text, not just in words, but in deeds. It took courage for student, first-authors to write/perform this text, and it takes courage for us as educators to read it because our youth want us to speak up more and act differently. To quote one student-first –author:“It was all new to me. I never did anything like this before. If I could go back in time, I would tell the principals that they need to care about all of the kids, not just the favorites. If they could actually take the time and talk to me, maybe you would actually care because you would get to know me. I think they would learn I have a lot on my plate and they need to know about these things. It would have really helped me if they would have listened to me, talked to me, and actually showed me they care. If a principal would have shown me they cared, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Isn’t it past time that teachers and administrators learned to become their art and let their art remake them?

Ira Bogotch
Professor, Florida Atlantic University

This book dares to explore the multi-faceted nature of voice and its importance in narrating the experiences that have contoured the lives of persons who are so often conditioned, socialized and placed in a voiceless space by educational institutions. The use of artmaking to articulate hopes and fears, in a non-judgmental space that calls for a socially just education, shifts the focus from traditional notions of narrative to the creative power of expression through art. This work breaks new ground in pushing educational power brokers to come to grips with the multiple ways asymmetric power relations are propagated through traditional structures and how the power of creativity can respond to and disrupt these structures.

Michael Dantley Dean
Professor, Miami of Ohio University

Christa Boske’s edited volume provides an extraordinary service to educational leaders, policy makers, and those who care about the education stakeholders. Through the chapters in this book, Boske and her authors demonstrate the power of artistic storytelling and representation to the development and empowerment of young minds. For those who care about the education of children and youth this is an essential read.

Michelle Young
Professor, University of Virginia
former Executive Director of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)

Dedication. Endorsements. Artmaking for Social Justice: Unforeseen Passion for Possibilities, Christa Boske. SECTION I: YOUTH VOICES. Be Free, Leonard Joshua Jackson. I Embody My Art, Angely Boske. Capital B, Hunter Zachariah Smith. Es El Mundo (The World Is Mine), Shannon Vickers. Black and Bold, Josiah Tate. WomanUp, Abigail Hornacek. De-Evolution of Humanity: Stop and Think Before You Speak, Jihad I. Ruffin. Two Birds, One Cage, Bryianna Davis. Telekinesis, A. My Art is My History of My Life, L. SECTION II: ADULT RESPONSES. A Father’s Perspective, Leonard Jackson. He Is My “Stone”, Charles Rainey. Leadership Is Not a Title, It’s an Action: Using Artmaking to Lead for Social Justice with Young Black Men in K–12 Schools, Leshun Collins. As a Father, My Heart Aches, Shannon Vickers, S.r. Artmaking for Social Change: Concluding Thoughts, Christa Boske. Biographies.