Edited by Holly M. Crawford and Daven McQueen

Violet Castellanos recently completed an ESMoA education internship with an emphasis on Family and Teen programs. She started as an Artist Mentor working with The Teen Thing and went on to coordinate PROTEST, an all ages art-making workshop centered around the concept of protest during Experience 21: PLAN. We emailed Violet a few questions about her experience working at ESMoA.

What artist or contemporary figure(s) has inspired you?

The teaching community has been so inspiring and welcoming with open arms. I’m so humbled to know so many strong educators and artists who share themselves with such fluidity and selflessness. When I got accepted into grad school, a friend of mine gave me a bell hooks book titled “Teaching to Transgress” which has been life changing. Holly also just passed along two Myles Horton books that I’m looking forward to reading!

What was it like to work with Family audiences for PROTEST?

Having not formally worked with the Family audience before, it was a bit intimidating. In planning PROTEST, I tried to make sure that the concept and dialogue was made accessible to everyone, especially toddlers and early grade school children. I felt this workshop was a great opportunity to explain current figures in activism and current examples of protest to the younger generation. I wanted it to be a time to break down large and sometimes overwhelming concepts into smaller bite sized pieces. I couldn’t have gotten a topic with more contemporary relevance than PROTEST.

What was it like to work with Teens on The Teen Thing?

Teens are my favorite! The teenage years are such a unique point in one’s life and I am so humbled that I got to share some of that time with this group. I was, and continue to be so inspired by their determination, insight, critical worldview, and optimism for the future that they are actively shaping. Underline everything in the previous sentence and say it again. They really are the best! They’re also just a ton of fun to hang out with!

What has been your favorite part of your internship?

My favorite part has been becoming part of the ESMoA family and realizing that by becoming a teacher, I will forever be learning from those around me. Everyone here has welcomed me into their community with open arms. They have shared their books, shared their knowledge, shared their combined decades of experience, and shared a sense of love within teaching that I know I will carry with me through the rest of my career.

What are your goals after the internship? What are the connections between museum work and social practice?

After the internship, I’ll begin working towards an MA in Art Education and Community Practice at NYU. I’d like to push myself to explore the amazing space where art and activism intersect, where art and teaching become a vessel for social justice and change. Everyday, I try to remind myself to think critically of everything around me, but from a place of love. I hope to pass this critical worldview to the students I have the privilege of teaching, and to continue to learn from them.

Violet Castellanos completed studies for a BFA at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA in 2014.  In the coming weeks, Violet will be relocating to NYC to attend New York University, where she will pursue an MA in Art Education and Community Practice.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media.