First and foremost, I want to introduce myself and give you a little background information. My name is Deva Watson and I am the founding and lead art teacher at at a charter school in the Philadelphia area. I went to the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, received my BA in film from Temple University, and my MAT in art education from University of The Arts. I recently just finished my AmeriCorps year of service where I served as a learning support co-teacher and art enrichment teacher. Throughout finishing my master's degree and AmeriCorps service, I have worked at Pub and Kitchen/The Diving Horse, with full support from GM Ed Hackett and Chef Johnathan Adams, as a server working 80 hour work weeks, in order to pay for art supplies for my students. I am from Northeast Philadelphia and currently living in Fishtown with my three roommates (all working artists) and my dog, Lenin.
Education wasn't the field I envisioned myself being in. It became important over a period of time when I was freelancing as a film editor. I kept hearing how schools were cutting art programs in Philadelphia public schools, yet suburban schools were maintaining theirs for the most part. I wasn't happy editing reality tv, so I decided to got back to school and get my master's in education. I remember loving my teachers at CAPA because I got to do art 4 periods a day, learned editing foundational work, and even won a UPenn prize for a short film that I made there. At UArts, I honed my craft of creating lesson plans, classroom management, etc. I, unlike my peers, wanted to create lessons that were in depth, thought provoking, and not making art for art sake. While student teaching, I got 75 broken skate decks from Bustin longboards in NY for my 8th graders and did a graffiti art project based on working artists Banksy and Shepard Fairey. At my high school student teaching placement, I had my students create lino cuts/ prints based on areas of conflict. Students had to research Palestine, Holocaust, etc, create prints that represented those areas of struggle, and comment on those places/history in artist statements. I wanted students through the art classroom to become global citizens and begin to understand its complexities. You will see this work through all the videos and images I posted.
Currently, my school and principal are trying to make something really amazing for my future students. We deceided to seek a modern, sustainable design company that would build an art classroom pro-bono. Greensaw loved the project and came on board. We have taken measurements, had various design meetings, and finally finalized on our design plan to the school's leadership board.
The school itself was suppose to make an initial investment into building the art classroom. We just got word we lost money from state funding, meaning the school can not put up the initial $6,000 needed to get this project off the ground to secure shop time, pay the Greensaw team for doing the shop work (building cabinents, etc) because they would have to put larger paying projects on hold, and initial supplies. Therefore, all money will go into generated would contribute to initial funds not met because of losing state funding.
Getting donated building and art supplies for the art room.
I hope you can help. I really do.
Lead Art Teacher at Southwest Leadership Academy