Who is an ArtCore Weaver?

 Kelly Middle School student, ArtCore weaver Jessica Land, and teacher Barb Whitlock discuss the mosaic design project inspired by a social studies unit on ancient civilizations. 

Kelly Middle School student, ArtCore weaver Jessica Land, and teacher Barb Whitlock discuss the mosaic design project inspired by a social studies unit on ancient civilizations. 

Veteran school change agent and lead trainer for our team of weavers, Michelle Swanson, recently shared this sentiment: "What’s at the heart of our work? We grow young humans. We make big connections."

A weaver is a teacher, a dot connector, an idea builder, and a creative thought partner tinkering with new ways to teach and learn. A Weaver is an imagination catalyst. They’re prepared and flexible, connecting disciplines and art forms. Weavers reveal how the driving purpose is not really about the art. Its about the thinking, the curiosity, and the release that becomes the art. They problem solve with transparency and thrive on improvisation. Weavers challenge their colleagues and students to explore their inherent creativity. They know that everyone has the ability to create their own way in the world—even if that way is simply to remain curious and thrilled to pursue that curiosity whenever possible.

Weavers are avid learners. They learn to evolve ideas; they learn to express them. Weavers inspire learners of all ages to see mistakes as the beating heart of the learning process—as gratifying as an A on a difficult test.

By offering their unique artistic skills to a team of educators, ArtCore weavers thread studio habits of mind throughout teaching and learning in classrooms. They weave acting, painting, designing, and ukulele jams into the school day. Weavers spin art forms throughout core subject areas to ignite the fire of creative engagement in middle school students. Weavers co-create experiences that enable students to take the lead on their learning. They model, challenge, and wait to see what emerges.

As a school year begins at each ArtCore middle school site, weavers busily establish their studio spaces or think of new ways to use the classroom to inspire innovation. They know they will be asking a great deal of students’ and educators’ imagination and persistence and need to cultivate a conducive space. Weavers create a sense of belonging but won’t hesitate to challenge our thinking. They question in order to uncover the source of resistance inhibiting our creative solutions. Students know to expect a new experience, one that challenges them to tap into their talents and become resilient in their pursuit of learning. Above all, weavers provide encouragement and support as each member of this learning community embarks on their unique journey. 

Over the school year weavers will collaborate and facilitate student growth in all kinds of deeply relevant skills. Students will learn how to develop craft, engage their imagination and focus and persist through challenges. They will envision ideas and express them thoughtfully. They will learn to observe the subtlety of the world, reflect and think about their vantage point, and stretch and explore to understand the world around them. They will learn about the transformative role that art has played in the evolution of our civilization and that of many others.

As author Elizabeth Gilbert noted recently, there has to be a reason why humans were making art thousands of years before they began to cultivate their own food. In the end, sustaining our creative spirit and freedom has been more important than sustaining our bodies. Weavers remind us of this insight—what really drives us all to learn.

What do you think, are you a Weaver?

Learn more about our unique team of ArtCore weavers here