"Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money; It is a process, a never-ending one."
i stood by the door, anxious and nervous for michael's arrival. i spent seventh period setting up the digital projector and trying to spread the word. "you staying after school, right?" i'd ask an unsuspecting student. "michael genovese is gonna be here. he's a chicago artist." "oh really?" they'd reply, either somewhat interested or just totally not paying attention to what i had said.
mike finally showed up just before the bell rang. school was out and most people left, some forgetting about the event, some going out to chill in front of the school till everyone was gone, then sneaking back into school to check out this chicago artist. we had coke and cookies and a nice tablecloth on the tables in the back of the room. someone set down a bag of ice in the corner and forgot about it. a student found it over an hour later with a river of melted ice flowing across the floor.
michael tore it up on stage, so to speak. he really worked to make a connection with the kids, speaking from the heart and giving some history of his life in chicago and elsewhere. it wasn't until he let some of his artwork do the talking, especially when he passed around some of his actual work, did most of the students open up. the questions took some time to begin flowing, but once the artists in the room (and everyone there is an artist in some way) made a connection--that aha! moment, that moment when they start to nod their heads in understanding--did the room become fully energized. i saw that michael himself had made a connection with the kids--he was receiving much of that energy. he had just the right stories, or just the right advice to inspire and interest the students.
i wish i could tell more here, but i also know that this is just a beginning. a beginning for the students and their creativity, a beginning with mike and me, and hopefully the sprout of something great between all of us to collaborate and make something great happen. it's there. for sure, it's there.