Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life & the Kenya Project through Sweet Tree Arts

July 26, 2021

Argy Nestor, longtime Maine art educator, is now working with Sweet Tree Arts at the Sweetland School and oversees the Sweet Tree Fellowship program. Sweet Tree Fellowship is an opportunity to expand and build knowledge in arts education. Participants engage in the collaborative teaching and learning processes of Sweetland School. Critical components include creative thinking, arts integration, documentation process, community involvement, and student-centered learning and leading through hands-on experiences. Ongoing sharing of the arts and ideas will build creative confidence with and for young people so they can dream bigger and create their future. Not only are the selected fellows a part of a strong collective of like-minded artists and educators but they also receive personal coaching and mentorship from accomplished trailblazers in their respective art and education fields. 

The 2020-21 Sweet Tree Fellows are passionate educators who are enthusiastic about learning. With a focus on arts integration and student-centered methods, they build on their knowledge and teaching practice in a supportive community. Learn more about the Sweet Tree Fellows at sweettreearts.org.

In addition to her work with the fellows, Argy has been using Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life as the foundation for her work with teachers across Kenya. In May 2021, Argy conducted an online workshop with 15 teachers in Kenya to show how the film can be incorporated into art curriculum. Those teachers went on to present to others in their schools and communities, spreading the word about art and activism even farther: 

We would like to report that we had quite a good and interactive time. We had 14 of our interns (2020 high school graduates) join us, plus 10 of our teaching staff members. We also had three teachers from neighbouring schools join us in the middle. 

From our school, Tebea Academy, we had wonderful comments from the teaching staff who were very happy to listen, ask questions, and share in the process. We are very happy Argy got time to share with our team, leaving us with resources to further reinforce arts in our schools. Our interns have their first art project to design lessons based on the guidelines from https://natashamayers.org/education/ to teach the elementary section. 

We have an elementary school project as a way to give back to the immediate society, where our interns get to teach, play with, and take good care of learners aged 3-10yrs who cannot walk long distances to access the few government schools that are overpopulated. 

For our staff, we embrace the need to diversify what we accept from students as evidence of their understanding and we appreciate the role of arts in unleashing the potentials of each learner and bringing out their uniqueness.