Autumn Blizzard
Autumn Blizzard
Rachael Potashnik
Hifiza Iqbal

Featuring: Dina Almontaser, Katelyn Alvarez, Britney Bajnath, Autumn Blizzard, Mikaela Blount, Rhori Brown, Elysa Cisneros, Dariana Collado, Zoe Dong, Omar Hammam, Tigerlily Hopson, Hifiza Iqbal, Hymarni Jagganarine, Krisstina Lewis, Abbie Lin, Jesus Luna, Estrella Marti Martinez, William Martinez, Nisar Mesbeth, Keila Montalvo, Ashley Pablo Morales, Osatohanmwen Osarenkhoe, Britany Paez, Esmeralda Paredes, Rosselyn Paulino, LeeAnn Perez, Kareim Perry, Melissa Phagoo, Daisy Ramos Plata, Rachael Potashnik, Charli Rodriguez, Heyma Singh, Steven Tovar-Campos, Amanda Vargas, Mahla Walker, Nanakwame Williams, Jessica Williamson

We wish to highlight the work of New York City Department of Education arts educators. By exhibiting our student’s works, we hope to contribute to the conversation on education policy, and shout out that: ART EDUCATION IS A NECESSARY RIGHT FOR ALL STUDENTS!

This exhibit is not just a celebration of our arts educators and their students, it is a call to action: to ensure that art education remains a leading factor in the curriculum for every child.

In economically challenging times, the arts are among the first programs cut from the budget: visual arts, music, dance, theatre. In the art room, all subjects are taught: Math, Science, Social Studies, English. The art classroom is a real-world reflection of interdisciplinary study that embodies complex learning.

In this exhibit, the featured work of the students and art educators of New York City Department of Education schools, represents the complex thinking of project based learning. Each artwork and image conveys a student’s worldview and personal outlook. We hope this exhibit shows the New York City community that: ART EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL IN ALL New York City PUBLIC SCHOOLS!


Leigh Klonsky

East Side Community School, New York, New York

Leigh Klonsky is an artist, and an art teacher. She has taught art in the New York City public school system for almost twenty years. Since 2007, Leigh has taught digital art and photography to 6th-12th graders at East Side Community School in the Lower East Side. She also runs the East Side Photo Program, an after-school intensive program for dedicated photography students.

Brenna McLaughlin

High School of Art and Design, New York, New York

Brenna McLaughlin has been a photographer and educator for the past twenty years. She believes the camera is a great pedagogical instrument, a strong tool for self-expression, and a way to tell inventive stories. Brenna has been a photography teacher at the High School of Art and Design, a New York City Career and Technical Education school, where she spearheaded a new curriculum for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, that combines multiple aspects of photography, work-based learning, and collaborations. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Gordon Baldwin

Charles O. Dewey Middle School 136, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Gordon is a 57 year-old, Brooklyn-based educator and artist. He received his MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in 1990, and a MA in Art Education from the City College of New York in 1998. For over 27 years he has been a New York City middle school fine arts educator, where he has been teaching digital photography, in addition to fine arts. He is also serving as a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Professional Learning Community exploring Art and Social Justice, 2020-2021.

Ben Russell

High School of Fashion Industries, New York, New York

After over thirty years as a freelance commercial photographer, Ben Russell started a second career as a high school art teacher, and he has been teaching visual art, and black and white film photography at the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City for the past five years. Ben also teaches at the International Center of Photography, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Caitlin Gibbons

Digital Art and Cinema Technology High School, Brooklyn, New York

Caitlin Gibbons is an artist-educator whose love of photography began at age nine, while working with her grandfather. She holds a Masters in Art Education from New York University, and has been teaching art and filmmaking for eight years. Prior to working in education, Caitlin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda, where she developed a community photography program that was funded by the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California; the program is still running today. When she is not teaching, Caitlin continues to develop her art practice, and assists with shooting independent documentary projects.

David Mahl

James Madison High School, Brooklyn, New York

David Mahl’s journey into photography began when his grandfather gave him his prized Kodak 116 Brownie at the age of 7. One year later, his parents bought him a darkroom kit, where he quickly set up shop in his bedroom closet. David’s experience as a photojournalist led to his first teaching job in Brooklyn, where he introduced neighborhood students to the principles of photography, and the magic of black and white developing and printing. He is teaching digital photography and studio art across all grade levels, where his approach to visual literacy permits his students to develop their own voice and photographic style.

Bethany Trust

Hillside Arts & Letters Academy, Jamaica, New York

Bethany Trust has been a visual arts educator in New York City for over twenty years. She grew up in rural Connecticut, and was drawn to the city for its cultural and creative resources. After majoring in art therapy and photography as an undergraduate, she decided education would be her next level of work. She attended New York University to obtain her masters in art education. Bethany is one of the founding teachers at Hillside Arts & Letters Academy in Jamaica, Queens, and she has forged major partnerships between her school and the community including: Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL), Queens Museum (of Art), No Longer Empty, and DiverCity Lens. When she’s not thinking about her students, Bethany is doting on her 3 daughters (ages 4, 5.5, and 8) in Jackson Heights, where she lives with them and her husband, who is a musician.


  • High School of Fashion Industries

    High School of Fashion Industries

    The mission of the High School of Fashion Industries is to provide challenging, creative, and effective career, technical, and academic training for New York City students. The faculty and administration of our school—working with the cooperation of the parents and student body—seek to provide a unique learning experience and a specially tailored program for all students who have an interest in a fashion-related field.

  • High School of Art and Design

    High School of Art and Design

    The mission of the High School of Art & Design is to inspire, educate, and fully prepare our gifted students to become exceptional artists. Through a unified curriculum that incorporates a broad spectrum of disciplines integrating art, technology, and academics, our students are prepared to go on to college and careers with industry-standard mastery in the major of their choice. With a commitment to promoting strong ethical values and professional demeanor, we strive to foster a sense of community among our students, staff, and parents. We are dedicated to engendering students’ productive, creative, and innovative participation in the world of visual arts as concerned and caring citizens of the global community.

  • East Side Community School

    East Side Community School

    We are a small, 6-12th grade college preparatory school, dedicated to the belief that all students can, must, and will learn and succeed academically. We set high standards for each of our students, and we help them meet these standards by providing personal attention, a strong sense of community, high quality instruction, and engaging and innovative learning experiences, inside and outside of the classroom. Students, staff, families, and community members, see themselves as part of a team, whose main goal is the success of every individual student in our diverse learning community. We have a school-wide commitment to promoting social justice and combating racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and any other form of discrimination. The goal of the school is to create a community of highly skilled students, lifetime learners, critical thinkers, and socially responsible citizens who, upon graduation, will be prepared to succeed in college and beyond.

  • James Madison High School

    James Madison High School

    The mission of James Madison High School is: to instill the “Principles of Madison” by using a variety of data to address the individual needs and interests of students, and to provide a course of study that holds them to high standards, and that is inherently enriching and supportive.

  • Charles O. Dewey Middle School 136

    Working together with our community partners, our students at Middle School 136, will gain an understanding of the basic principles of camera functions and digital photography. Students will explore the design elements of images, creative and innovative approaches to conceiving photographs, and ways of developing visual awareness.

  • Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School

    Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School

    Located in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School provides a rigorous academic program dedicated to preparing students to be college and career ready. Through a specialized program that incorporates academic, creative, and technical skills, students are immersed in authentic learning experiences in the fields of digital art, film, and technology. By maintaining a collaborative and supportive learning environment, students who graduate from the Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School are persistent, resilient, and capable of being successful in college and beyond.

  • Hillside Arts & Letters Academy

    Hillside Arts & Letters Academy

    The mission of Hillside Arts and Letters Academy is to offer students a challenging college preparatory curriculum, with a special emphasis on visual arts, music, and writing. Students at Hillside Arts become self-directed and resourceful learners, with a deep appreciation for the arts as not only a source of enjoyment and personal growth, but also as a path to understanding, and changing, society. We prepare students to graduate as independent thinkers, who are academically well-rounded, creative, and especially well-prepared to innovate and collaborate.

Teaching Creativity: A Case for Art Education

 archive : 2020

Featuring: Various Artists

Curated by: Brenna McLaughlin Ben Russell

Presented by: High School of Art and Design, High School of Fashion Industries, East Side Community School, James Madison High School, Charles O. Dewey Middle School 136, Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School, Hillside Arts & Letters Academy

Supported by:

  • PhotoWings


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Sep 172020

Teaching Creativity: A Case for Art Education

This panel will celebrate New York City students and their arts educators. We will also present a call to action: Ensure that arts education remains a leading factor in the curriculum of every child.

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