Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to Feature Educator-Created Artworks

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to Feature Educator-Created Artworks

A multi-day, statewide teacher walkout dominated headlines earlier this year. Now, educator-created artworks inspired by those protests have been collected as #RedForEd: The Journey Toward Equity, a new exhibition by Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach that will run from Sept. 15 - Nov. 17 in the ArtReach gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

In April 2018, 78 percent of the 57,000 teachers in the Arizona Educators United (AEU) union voted to walk out of their schools to push for increased education funding and higher wages. It lasted six school days and forced numerous school closures as thousands of educators wearing red rallied at the State Capitol in Phoenix, initiating the #RedForEd movement.

Among those educators were Valley art teachers, like Paige Reesor. She and other art teachers got together at the Capitol during the walkout to draw and paint what they observed.

"As my painting developed, I wanted to generate the atmosphere around me," Reesor said. "It was hopeful and energized!"

Reesor received positive feedback from fellow teachers and supporters while she was painting during the walkout. She ended up selling the original of one piece, Red For Ed at the Capitol, that day. She is now making prints of that painting, like the one included in this exhibition.

For #RedForEd: The Journey Toward Equity, Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach asked Arizona teachers to submit original artworks created in response to their personal experience with the protest. The intent is to portray the #RedForEd movement from the perspective of those who walked out. By communicating their message through forms of protest signs, photography and paintings, these educators are using art as an agent of change.

Art teacher Katherine McPherson based her painting #RedForEd Chaos Theory on the so-called "butterfly effect," comparing the walkout to the chaos theory that posits the potential for a tornado to be caused by something as simple as the flapping of a butterfly's wings.

"Our individual voices were a whisper that was not heard and accomplished very little," McPherson said. "Small groups began to form and combine voices; the groups grew, and the voices became a haboob that swept the nation."

Submissions for this exhibition came from school districts in Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Peoria and Tempe, among others.

ArtReach is a community gallery that showcases work in response to social issues and concerns and also offers a window into Scottsdale Arts and City of Scottsdale art program. It is located in the south hallway of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, across from Stage 2.

Image: Red For Ed at the Capitol by Paige Reesor

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