Can Hip Hop Save Us?

The U.S. public education system is not providing a high-quality, equitable education for young people in our country. The opportunity gap among black and white students has remained unchanged for the past 50 years, and the U.S. currently ranks #36 in the world for education. So how do we successfully engage and inform young minds, preparing them for an uncertain world? Hip hop. Join this session to learn more about this approach to culturally responsive arts education.

Presenter Bios

Heleya de Barros, interim director of arts education at Arts Corps, is an actor, teaching artist and arts education advocate whose work focuses on how to use theatre skills across disciplines. She has taught with such organizations as The New School for Drama Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, People’s Theatre Project, The Center for Arts Education, The Geffen Playhouse, The Los Angeles Music Center, Crossroads School and 24th Street Theatre. She is the executive director of the Association of Teaching Artists and formerly sat on the board of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable.

Olisa Enrico (Johnson) is the out of school time program manager at Arts Corps. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in performance in 2007, magna cum laude, and an master’s degree in fine arts in theater pedagogy in 2010 with a dual focus in acting/directing and voice/speech from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a certified master teacher in the methodologies Ritual Poetic Drama within the African Continuum and Archetypes for the Actor. Olisa works with students of all ages and stages and believes that artists and art are vital to the state of education and should be incorporated into all areas of learning.

James Miles worked as an educator in the New York City public schools for 20 years before joining the Seattle-based Arts Corps as its executive director. Originally from Chicago, Miles has worked internationally as an artist and educator, and his work has been featured through Complex magazine, National Guild, The Seattle Times, KOMO, NPR, CBS, NBC, the U.S. Department of Education and ASCD. Miles is a mayoral appointee to the Seattle Arts Commission and on the advisory board of SXSW EDU. His acclaimed TedXTalk focuses on culturally responsive teaching. Learn more.

Access additional 2020 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits