Urban Arts Academy: Katie, 4.5 Hours, MIA: Krista Pearson, 2 hours

            I met with Krista this past Monday morning, she picked me up and we went to Nawayee Center school for a planning meeting about the Mde Maka Ska festival. We got there a little early and I met an instructor there who works in Art Therapy—she gave us a tour of the art studio at the Nawayee Center School. It was amazing to see the amount and variety of work these students were creating, and her discussion of the ways it has helped many of them become more comfortable was wonderful to hear. After this, we sat down with the principal of the school, Joe Rice, a very cheerful and amicable man, and discussed specific logistics of the project that MIA will be working with them on.

            I went to Urban Arts Academy this week as well—Katie was working with the students on making paper mache cakes, the artist of the month is still Claes Oldenburg. I helped her prepare for the day by tearing strips of newspaper, we then went down and escorted the students from the bus to the gym. While we were there, a student had an outburst, he started yelling and pusing chairs and toys—Katie and the other instructors tried to calm him down by talking to him, but he wouldn’t pay attention. Eventually, Katie took him to the hall to talk to him in a place where they could speak privately and in a less stimulating environment where other students would cause trouble. He came back in ten minutes late, feeling much better, I asked Katie what had happened and what the best way she felt to deal with it was. She told me that it happens often and that the best way to handle it is to try to calm him down by talking to him about it and getting him into a more quiet space. There were a few other minor issues with the same student throughout the day, but talking to him in a comfortable and friendly way seemed to work through that barrier.

            When we got back to the class (after a very difficult climb up three flights of stairs with a student who wouldn’t let go of my torso), we had snack and I tried to convince the students to eat the vegetables that the nutrition intern, Jessica, had made for them—most of them refused, again! The students began working on paper mache cakes, and I was charged with escorting the students from their bus drop off to their classes for the first time.