My name is Sam Provenzano and I am a Teaching ARTist for Mirror Image Arts. During the recent development of our 6 week after-school program, I was asked to become the lead facilitator for the project. I said yes without hesitation!

The first 6-week program held simultaneously some of the most challenging and easy moments at Mirror Image Arts for me. I say easy because the curriculum had so much freedom inside of it, that it was easy for me to trust the process. Meghann and Laura developed a fleshed out curriculum but were open and willing to grow it as we put it on its feet. It was a fun process because they had already done their research and I got to come in and play! I loved it. I felt very supported in voicing my opinion and became a co-collaborator in it’s development. The challenging part was getting to the point where I trusted what I was doing. I am glad I had this opportunity to facilitate this with a generally small student turn out. It gave me the flexibility and confidence to try on this new curriculum. see more

I was really affected by the students in the program. With such a small group, it was easy to see where students wanted to share and where they were protecting themselves. After one student opened up about being bullied, I couldn’t stop thinking about him for a week. I had forgotten really how raw and mean people can be. I live in a very PC and polite everyday world so it shook me to reconnect directly to that harsh environment full of embarrassment and self doubt. I understand bullying is a real everyday struggle for many people, but this student put it into a real perspective that I hadn’t seen in awhile.

I am nervous and excited for the next one. I think this program is fun for students while still challenging them to be creative and brave. I am nervous because a larger group will be a brand new learning experience. But because I trust the curriculum, I can’t wait to see what form future programs take.