Salon Reveals the Artist in ‘Teaching Artist’

As a teaching artist for Community-Word Project, I can tell you that we are always talking about strategies for bringing our artistic selves into the classroom. But rarely do we have the opportunity to share our artistry with each other, which is why our fall Salon was a rare treat.

An intimate group of teaching artists and staff members gathered at the elegant home of board member Dillon Cohen. After a fascinating tour of his personal contemporary photography and sculpture collection, we assembled in the living room to share our work with each other. Each teaching artist brought a poem, a song, or a piece of artwork to share, as well as a piece of work by a student.

I started by sharing a couplet by one of my students at PS 279 in the Bronx, and then read a poem from my collection Dispatch from the Future. Phyllis Capello, Teaching Arist, serenaded us with a ukulele cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “Women Be Wise,” and then read a poem about Pasiphae, wife of King Minos and mother of the minotaur in Greek myth.

“…never mind that she was a woman 
and he a bull; everyone here is a coupling 
of human and beast…”
    – excerpt from “Pasiphae,” by Phyllis Capello

Felipe Galindo, Teaching Artist, shared a student mural, and then some of his public art for the MTA. Chad Frisbie, Teaching Artist read a sprawling and funny poem inspired by Internet commenting, and Sophie read a few riveting poems about life as a young woman in NYC. Our fearless leader Michele Kotler, CWP Executive Director, read excerpts from a collection of poetry from the point-of-view of a woman in love with a prisoner, who becomes a prisoner herself in that love. 

“I factor one wish into another
I become the factory of wishes
I become the factory of waiting”

     – excerpt from “Because You Can’t Call Someone in Prison Back” by Michele Kotler

Patti closed the evening with two beautiful renditions of Robert Frost poems set to music.
Thanks to the generosity of our board member, I’m already looking forward to the next salon in January!

 Leigh Stein, Teaching Artist