Practicing What We Preach

In May we came together to intentionally “Practice What We Preach” at this seasons Marwen Teaching Artist Retreat. Thank you to all of you who created the time to reflect and learn together on this day.
With a 30-year-old mission to educate and inspire underserved young people through the visual arts, how does Marwen position itself to practice this work when young people are often unfamiliar with formal art spaces, not exposed to art making, and have lived experiences unlike our own? Our goal for this retreat is to reconsider the ways we integrate our art practice and life experiences into a teaching practice at Marwen with underserved young people.

Outcomes for Our Teaching Artists (for this retreat and beyond):

  • To articulate how we see Marwen students at the heart of our mission in relation to how we see more resourced students
  • To build an inclusive community in our classrooms
  • To draw our most vulnerable students closer, as opposed to working with them with frustration.
  • To process our racism
  • To transition from our artistic practice to teaching students who are not necessarily inclined to participate in the arts.
  • To think critically about the disproportionate ratio of process to product in our teaching.
Dr. Eve Ewing joined us for the morning portion of our day!
She shared two articles for us to read in advance:

Among other questions, we asked her questions you have brought up this year:

  • In 2016, 43% of Marwen’s young people identified as Hispanic/Latino. Are there overarching approaches to engaging our population of students to consider when writing  our curricula?
  • Do you have any tips about how to steer conversations about race and/or ethnicity or involving race and/or ethnicity that you overhear young people having in the studio?
  • Because many of us don’t find art organizations and museums exclusionary, how do we become more aware of what aspects are challenging to young people enrolled in courses here– and then to work towards inclusion?
  • What does equity look like in a studio class?


Visit this Verve page for additional reading:

Our presentation that includes “scenario studies” from our afternoon session:


Kate Adams About Kate Adams
Kate Adams is an artist, teaching artist, and mom. As a Marwen staff member she oversees Marwen’s teaching artist professional development, student assessment, and program evaluation. Through her artwork she explores concepts of home, generations and change. You can reach her at

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