What you’re seeing above is a mural that was co-created over 3 days by Mariah Howard, Mary Corrigan and myself at a splendid event in July called the Mount Madonna Chautauqua. (Click on the image to see a larger version, and go here to see close-ups of different sections.) The Chautauqua is the brainchild of the brilliant (and brilliantly subversive!) educator Ward Mailliard, who for the past 6 years has created a space each summer where a group of people who care about learning can, as he says, “engage in meaningful conversation about our own learning and discover…new ways of transforming our work in education.” This year Chautauqua was structured around the theme of the “Learning Journey,” and from the very beginning of the planning, it was designed to put art and music at the centre of the learning process. And what a learning took place! In future posts I’ll talk more about some of the “AHAs” and epiphanies I (and others) experienced there. For now, suffice to say that it was one of those truly transformative events that one is occasionally blessed to experience, and what I learned at Chautauqua will be informing my work for a long time to come.
If you feel like reading more about Chautauqua right now, click on the link to browse around the blog that Ward and his crew put together after the event. It’s full of rich and juicy details, including several videos, transcripts of talks, and written reflections from various participants. For specific reflections on the role of art, check out Artists’ Reflections, On Art/Graphic Facilitation, and Peter Block’s article on Art and Community.