Who is Rachael? Originally hailing from the Southside of Atlanta, I always had big city dreams. From the time I was a young child I knew it was either Los Angeles or New York City. After graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Fashion Design, I heard NYC calling my name. Two (large) suitcases and a one way ticket later, and here I am. I knew that fashion design wasn’t my ultimate passion so I shifted my focus to fine art, mixed media, and digital art. I found my passion in creating mixed media artwork and working with digital appropriated media. Splicing together appropriated video was a natural progression from my previous mixed media work and something I plan to explore further. I knew that I wanted to share my passion with others and have a long term career with societal impact and decided to explore the option of becoming an art educator. I found New York University’s Steinhardt program, with a heavy focus on social justice to be the perfect fit for me. I received my MA in Art Education in May of 2014 and now teach visual arts to a lively group of middle schoolers full time and could not be happier. This blog began in my final semester of NYU and I feel that it perfectly embodies what art and art education is in today’s modern world.
The integration of art and media in academia is absolutely vital in our contemporary society. While art is relatively participatory, mass media and popular culture are no longer something we can opt-out of participating in. In order to link and contextualize current and historical cultural themes, contemporary art, media, and technologies together can be used to emphasize critical academic points, strengthen lessons, and relate to youth culture on a deeper level. Diversifying lessons by adding elements from contemporary art, modern technology, and non-traditional media can not only make lessons more relevant to today’s students, but also help students learn to think more critically about the information they are receiving and the sources they are receiving it from. In this way students learn to form their own opinions about the world around them.