Artists Who Care Interview #1 Miriam Rankin part II

March 4, 2010


Making a collage


What is the situation in the school now ?

  • My school’s art program is now central to academic learning. 
  • The entire school goes on art trips and neighborhood walks to inspire art projects and creative writing. 
  • Student art exhibits and parent/child art workshops involve parents after school. 
  • Our students win art contests.
  • We are considered a “model school”,  now one of maybe 5 schools in the city commended for having such a distinguished art program.
  • Because of a generous and continuous grant from a very prestigious art organization that has provided the school with two teaching artists, every child in the school has weekly art lessons.  Every student, from Pre-Kindergarten to 5th Grade sculpts, paints, draws, collages, makes prints, and uses proper tools, materials and terminology. 
  • The school library has a special art section that students helped me create- separate spaces for artists, careers in art, art history, reproductions, and arts and crafts. 
  • Within the last three years, we’ve gotten a full time music teacher who runs two choruses and gives music instruction in violin, piano, clarinet, and flute to small groups. 

Although recently drama and dance programs have been reduced because of funding issues and the poor economy, we do have some programs for selected classes. 

I really don’t consider a program successful unless it reaches everyone but I’ve had to  learn to be realistic. 

Academically speaking, my principal credits the immersion in the arts with greatly improving test scores in literacy.  With the full support of the principal, I have brought the school acclaim and attention.

Will these programs continue after you no longer work there?

I’d like to think that the art program would continue as an integral part of the school’s curriculum even if I weren’t there but realistically, I don’t think it would have the same impact. 
In order for it to work, a school needs an art advocate, someone who is dedicated and steadfastly fuels the program, doing the leg work and paper work that keeps it running.  Even our principal who has been so supportive has no idea how to run an actual art program. 

 Anything else you want to add?
I wish my mother could have seen how well my career, started so late in life, has blossomed.  I feel successful, perhaps not in wealth or fame, but in satisfaction and the sense that I’ve done something completely and thoroughly well. 

Thank you for giving me a chance to explain and share my pride in my work. 


2 Responses to “Artists Who Care Interview #1 Miriam Rankin part II”

  1. Claudia ;D Says:

    Great work Miriam, it is wonderful to see your accomplishments so well presented. Amazing what a difference you made in those kids lives that we might take for granted, in fact I always thought that arts were mandatory at least it was when I grew up, what a different world. And how insightful for your principle to recognize the importance of creativity on children’s development. And thank you Sarah for writing and posting this, wonderful to see what a difference a creative teacher makes. Very inspiring. All the best for both of you.

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