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Art21 Educator Spotlight: Jeannine Bardo

Jeannine Bardo is an educator and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She’s been teaching kindergarten through eighth grade for eighteen years at St. Ephrem School, a Catholic school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Jeannine joined the Art21 Educator community in the program’s third year, and has remained an active and vital member ever since. While teaching and dedicating time to her own practice, Jeannine simultaneously works as the founder and director of Stand4 Gallery in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Dedicated to providing platforms that support the voices of others, Jeannine joins the Art21 Magazine as Educator-in-Residence for our upcoming issue “Figures of Speech.” Exploring notions of truth, storytelling, knowledge-sharing, and protest, the new issue will feature two contributions by Jeannine packed with nearly two decades of insight, lesson plans, and classroom ideas related to various interpretations of speech.

Art21: Why do you believe the thinking and practices of contemporary artists are important to incorporate in the classroom? What do students get out of it that they might not otherwise?

Jeannine Bardo: Contemporary artists are explorers. They are curious about the big world and they show us how to view the world through a different lens. They are able to grapple with difficult subjects and create works that are like gifts, forever unfolding. It is not a pie in your eye. It fosters critical thinking, taking us out of the black and white and into the grey areas that keep us questioning.

“Contemporary art fosters critical thinking, taking us out of the black and white and into the grey areas that keep us questioning.”

This offers students a way of thinking that fosters more questions.

Art21: Why were you initially drawn to the Art21 Educators program?

JB: I came to Art21 Educators when I was researching artists while writing my curriculum. I found myself exploding with ideas after viewing the videos and I kept coming back for more. I knew the Art21 Educators program would challenge me even more.

Read the rest of Jeannine’s interview on the Art21 Magazine, and keep an eye out for her education posts throughout the Summer 2018 issue, “Figures of Speech.”