Sunday, November 29, 2009


School Flag, 2009, 72 inches x 48 inches

In developing the School of the Future, Thornton has both experienced and studied schools invented and run by artists. Her education about learning is visualized as a flag of artist-run-school logos. Some logos are invented by Thornton for the schools, and others have been made for this project by artists who run such schools. The flag marks what looks and smells like a new art movement: one that provokes learning through teaching, conversation with talking and unites people by introducing them. The schools represented include Night School, 16 Beaver, Bruce High Quality Foundation University, Institute of Applied Aesthetics, Anhoek School, Black Mountain College, School of Conduct, Secret School, United Nations Plaza, and Bauhaus-- otherwise known as Cassie's Mental School District.

Brave Brooklyn is presented by the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA) and Trust Art.

Brave Brooklyn opens December 4th, 2009. Along with various other pieces, this exhibition features the artwork of seven Trust artists. Each community artist is scheduled to unveil his or her public artwork commissioned for this Spring 2010 in various public spaces in North Brooklyn.

The work presented at the exhibit speak to the larger missions of each anticipated public work while also establishing a platform for each artist to begin to cultivate community interaction and dialogue surrounding their individual projects.

Brave Brooklyn will be open to the public December 4-11.
Gallery hours: Friday-Sunday from 12-5pm & Monday-Friday from 2-7pm
The press preview will be held Thursday, Dec 3, 2-7pm

Gallery location: 30 Nassau Avenue at Dobbin Street in Williamsburg.

Opening reception will be held on Dec 4, 6-10pm
Auction and closing night party on Dec 11, 6-10pm.

Mobile School Building

In preparation for Tuesday's meeting with Kate Cahill, when we will discuss the building for the School of the Future-- a mobile modular school, this is an email interview that might clarify some questions about this 'school' 'building'. Please chime in online or at our meeting next Tuesday if you are interested!

Kate also gave us this amazing link to Pushcart Schools in the Philippines:
"For the past 12 years, Peñaflorida and his team of teen volunteers have taught basic reading and writing to children living on the streets. Their main tool: A pushcart classroom."

Questions by Kate Cahill
, answers by Cassie.

How permanent is the school?
I see the school as being permanent, adaptable, reusable, moveable. It should be modular so that it can be adapted to many different terrains and class situations. I like the pushcart idea as a complimentary piece of the school-- it can be sent out for project missions from the mothership. For this summer we will be set up in Sgt. Dougherty Park for a one month trial run of the school.

How many people to set it up/break it down?
The school should be able to be set up with two people to begin. more difficult construction can happen at each school site depending on what is happening, but the basic part should be pretty light and simple- a fancy tent that's more than a tent.

Is transport on the back of a bike still the goal? Maybe the pushcart can attach to a bike, but the entire thing could be larger... maybe small enough to fold and fit into a medium size vehicle.
How many occupants at once? Hmm, since I am thinking of the school building as being quite small with opportunities to expand out, the nucleus part only needs to hold 4-6 people at a time. That can act as an office and more intimate workspace.
What kinds of space will be needed?
I think we need a good place to talk, draw, eat, and construct models: a table, a whiteboard, some seating.

What goes on inside? (bathroom? drinking water? storage? dancing? climbing wall?) Can you reveal more to me about what kind of school/learning is going to be housed by this structure?
I don't think we need a bathroom. I see it as a meeting and brainstorming boutique. A place where we plan- a central idea nucleus lab, and our actions move outward, expand physically from the central space by ways of lots of snaps, velcro, and ziptied attachments, amendments, extensions. LeCorbusier's museum of unlimited growth is a good way for me to think about it. Every class might add its own addition until the original central room is completely disguised. So, I am not sure what will happen inside. I will type a list from the notes that I have taken from our discussions, but there is a broad range from dancing to shoemaking.

I see a grey water system listed as a potential. is that born out of a need for water, or a general desire to include some shinny sustainable tactics?

I think the grey water system is a great way to begin to use observation and reactivity as a cornerstone for curriculum. The school will first exist in a derelict deserted park next to the BQE, bordered by STAPLES and the ConEdison plant fields. In reaction, we should do whatever we can to clean it up, spiff it up, process the air and water and soil like we are the mushrooms, remediating what we can. It doesn't have to be a permanent feature of the school, but it should definitely be explored for this summer's manifestation.

$10 - $100K...general range, what sort of budget are we talkin' here?
I hope to raise more than $5K. We have the potential to work with Association of Teaching Artists and I am spreading the word to other interesting organizations who might give us more clout in the fundraising world. I am working with TrustArt still too, and they are really into raising social and financial capital, and if we set a goal they will help us meet it. I am in the dark as to what we NEED but I think that if you help us define the cost of materials AND we start hoarding materials NOW we can definitely make exactly what we want.

Exactly who all is involved in this project?

Everyone-- Teaching Artist Union is my main community, but that said, it is growing and expanding constantly. I want to find ways to involve all the artists I know. There is interest from the outside, from other organizations, but I want it to mostly be made out of a community for that community. That's us! Teaching artists, artists, teachers! And I want to offer local members of Bushwick and Greenpoint a sincerious place in the process and the school itself.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Documentation and Phollowup:Socio-Grams with Institute of Applied Aesthetics

Just in case you were curious, you can check out what we did with Chris Kennedy from the Institute of Applied Aesthetics in September:
If you are interested in working with us to create a publication in January for his magazine 'How We Work', Holler! We could possibly combine that with our 'manual' in its first stages...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DREAM BUILDING (on tuesdays)

Next Tuesday, December 1 we will have 2 Special Guests, it will begin at 6 and end at 8.
Come for the part that is interesting to you!

At 6, Maya Erdelyi Perez, co-founder, will present a brief history of her interaction with California. She moved away to study animation at CalArts.
At 7 Kate Cahill will be here to talk about building a mobile school building. She is an expert with a deep brainstorm constantly burning inside her. Idea explosions will take place everywhere.

Last Tuesday Ruled. (meeting notes in pictures)
Nick Normal, Abigail Weg, Sarah Julig, and Chris Kennedy came to the meeting.
We discussed the SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE, including programming, building ideas, and possible planning strategies to make a mobile school building that gets planted in Sargeant Dougherty Park this summer.

Sarah Julig came to discuss a directory for us. If you'd like to work with us on making a directory for the web and a physical manual, please email teachingartistunion@gmail and we will set up a time to meet altogether.

After the meeting, Alison Levy screened Rethinking Afghanistan and about 20 people came to watch. There were snacks. And a sauna was built on the roof afterwards, so all the scary news of the documentary was squeezed out of the pores of those who chose to sweat.

Next meeting is on Tuesday, December 1. Maya Erdelyi-Perez, a cofounder of TAU, will be in town from California, and we will begin our meeting at 6. I am hoping she will show us some of the work and life she has been working on at that time. At 7, Kate Cahill, architect, philosopher and mobile materials lab will brainstorm with us about a mobile school building. Smoke will be accumulating under the table-- Kate is a wild idea developer for the built world. Maya is hosting a dinner afterwards here, so if you'd like to join, lets make a potluck at 9. I have a big table, let's fill it with leftovers!

Recommended Survey to take (I just spoke to the director of ATA who has great intentions to understand the life and needs of TA's)
ATA's survey Teaching Artists and Their Work
clearly demonstrates Teaching Artists know what is necessary for the
work of Teaching Artists to become sustainable. If you have not taken
the survey, please do.

Superflux Event December 8: WHO'S IN?

Bring your partners, bring your team, bring your friends, bring your students -- bring yourself!

Michele Kotler and Amy Chase Gulden are bringing their OBSERVING AND EXPLORING IN WORDS AND IMAGES… SKETCHBOOKS & WRITERS NOTEBOOKS workshop/ exploration to the Superflux Collective in a ONE-TIME-ONLY and absolutely FREE exclusive at Marymount Manhattan College.


Date: Tuesday, December 8
Time: 2pm to 5:45pm
Location: The Regina Peruggi Room at Marymount Manhattan College
Address: 221 East 71st Street (between 2nd & 3rd avenues)
Cost: FREE! Superflux Collective is a gift-economy initiative. Nobody pays, nobody gets paid -- but everybody
There will be a potluck lunch. DETAILS TO COME!

Amy Chase Gulden is the NY Regional Director for Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) where she supports teachers, schools and museums learning to use this powerful research-based, art-viewing method and curriculum. Michele Kotler is the founding director of the Community~Word Project, an arts in education organization based in New York City whose mission is to inspire New York City youth in underserved communities to read, interpret and respond to their world, and to become active citizens through collaborative arts residencies and teacher training programs.

On a more personal note: Hey Michael, I can't overemphasize enough how much I admire and respect these two artist-educators. I learn something every time I'm around them. This promises to be a deep and wondrous collaboration. PLEASE let me know if you might be able to come. It has already been too long!

Also, please feel free to forward this info to anyone at all.

Can't wait to see you. I hope it works out. Thanks, Michael!

Superflux Collective is particularly grateful to Michele & Amy and Alan Nuñez and Millie Burns at Marymount.

Space is limited! RSVP! Okay!



Mike Halverson
Superflux Collective

"... That thou mayest shake the superflux to them/ And show the heavens more just." - King Lear

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Artist Run Schools Permeate my Membranes

Free schools as artistic practice--at what or who's cost?
proposed by Adam Kleinman

The exhibition of a lecture and events forum positioned as a “school”
by various art practitioners is quickly becoming one of the most
popular forms of cultural production today. Take for example the New
Museum’s Night School, The Bruce High Quality Foundation University,
the Class Room at the New York Art Book Fair, or even The University
of Trash at the Sculpture Center—not to mention this very program.
Considering that talk is thick these days about education and
educational models, what better place and time than now to
self-reflexively question what we are all doing here! So, to begin,
lets pose a few, possibly loaded, Socratic questions:

1. What is the difference between “a school” and an education?
2. What motivates an artist or cultural producer to create
“schools” in the first place? What is at stake for the “principals”?
3. What differentiates “ free schools” from the more traditional,
and free, programs already offered by institutional education
departments such as conferences, colloquia, workshops and the like?
What are the strengths and weakness of each form?
4. Who funds and /or supports free schools? Why do they?
5. What is the social capital of a free school?
6. Although a college education may cost well over $100,000, are
free schools really an “alterative”? What does it mean when these
free schools begin appropriating terms like “university” or “course”.
7. Is google a free school—consider that the word school is derived
from the ancient Greek word for leisure. What other free sources of
education are taken for granted, ie the New York Public Library,
various centers and lectures at Columbia University, New York
University, the Americas Society, PBS on-line, MIT open source, and so
8. What is the difference between a school and a service?
9. Is research a necessary component of a school, or is
experimentation and exchange and end in itself?
10. What obligations, commitments, criteria, or otherwise should a
school provide?
11. What is the difference between a free school and a book of the
month club or any similar informal social activity?
12. Is there a labor relation between reality tv and a free school?
Don’t both use the production of a below the line volunteer as both
content and content producer?
13. Without granting any form of competency, which can be defined in
the both vocational as well as the intellectual sense, what is really
at stake for the student?
14. Is the exhibition of something, which takes the form of a
school, actually a school?

Suggested Reading:

Suggested assignment:

Create an itinerary for the next two moths featuring free educational
offerings in New York--thematize the list if you like. While creating
this itinerary, make a list of centers, ie
, which offer these activates and categorizes them.

And additional suggestion:
Create a catalog of free school being offered today and try to
categorize them into different models. For example:

The appropriated University:
Night School, BHQFU (as above) and

Reading groups / clubs:

Social Activities/outings:
Pickpocket Almanack (thanks Adam)

a la "cheap rhino tricks"


Thursday, November 19, 2009

TAU presentation tomorrow, please come support!

Presentation at Steinhardt tomorrow to Art Education Students
Barney Bldg, 34 Stuyvesant Street, Room 105
(auditorium). Stuyvesant is that funny diagonal street near St Marks
Bookshop that runs between 2nd and 3rd Aves and 9th-10th Streets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Union Hall Inaugurational Meeting

We currently have meetings every 3rd Sunday
at Union Hall (1027 Grand St., 4th Floor) at 3pm.
At this time we have a skillshare and a general meeting.

Working meetings take place on Tuesdays from 6-9, also at Union Hall.

All are welcome to Union Hall!

'Creativity is Relational.'

MEETING NOVEMBER 15 NOTES (also available on NEW blog:

Sara Julig, Helki Franzen, Michael Wiggins, Alison Levy, Jennifer Sullivan, Abigail Weg, Huong Ngo, Lindsay August Salazar, Anna Larson, Lisa Sinkowski, Michael Eckblad, Candice Heberer, Colin McMullan, Rachel Farmer
Chris Kennedy, James Andrews, Maya Erdelyi-Perez, Jose Serrano-Reyes, Saira Mclaren, Shizu Homma, Nick Normal, Noah Apple

What a meeting! I am still recovering from having you all in one room!
We talked a lot. It was intense. Many new members!

-Meetings now every Tuesday, 6-9. Work-time. Next Tuesday's theme is starting the manual. Please let me know if you will be coming.
-Make sure you are on the mailing list (sign up at or get on our facebook
-Presenting at NYU on Friday evening, please email if you'd like to come or participate. I don't have the details settled yet, but it's going to be around 6pm.
-Roles: I have mapped out some roles for many of the people in the group. Please let me know if you have a specific task, title, or role you would like to fulfill. I have a bit of a plan already, but I want to create a formal board of erectors. I will write individual emails this week about possible roles.
Check out our new id cards: good for discounts and free entry to museums.

The meeting opened with Sara reading Reggio Amelia after we ate Colin's most amazing brunch.
It was the first meeting in the new UNION HALL.
We read the mission statement while cutting out our id cards from the ART WORK Newspaper recently published by Temporary Services.
We discussed the goals of the Union.

We discussed many different teaching strategies, including the inquiry based model taught at Guggenheim and CUP.
We all have teaching packets from our organizations. Let's get them together and wheat-paste something with them.

Many new members came who deal with different facets of art and education in their work/life. A very exciting conversation began as we discussed the membership of artists who are not professional teachers in the union. It is a priority of the TAU to support teaching artists in all manifestations, and we began to explore opportunities to network and support all the different interests represented at the meeting.

Anna Larson came, who is a certified elementary school teacher who teaches at Children's Storefront School in Harlem. Her perspective was from that of a resident teaching staff of a school, and she offered advice about ways to approach schools as an independent artist and offered insight into the difference between being an educated educator vs. being an outsider-(tribal!) teacher.

Michael Wiggins blogs for the Association of Teaching Artists: ( !!)
He brought a big bowl of enthusiasm with a side of experience organizing teaching artists and being one himself. He suggested a weekly working meeting which will now take place on Tuesdays from 6-9pm at Union Hall. He emphasized the need for teamwork, funding, networking with other organizations, and emphasized the timeliness of our sweet group.

I informally introduced the School of the Future, the first manifestation of a school of teaching artists for teaching artists. More on that to come. The first event associated with that project will take place this summer at Sgt. Dougherty Park in Bushwick. Come to a planning meeting to get involved, and updates will be posted here in coming weeks: I am hoping that TAU members will play a big part in the project.

The last news is that TAU has been invited to present as a part of a colloquium at NYU-Steinhardt this Friday. If there is anyone who would like to come or help present, please let me know! The theme of the talk that night is art education in unconventional contexts, and we are representing 'community' for teaching artists to an audience of art education students. David Darts helped organize the series ( and he will be there-- he seems like good people.

Skillshare: Colin and Anna showed us how to put together a sweatlodge for the roof...