Groundswell Knowledge Base | Reflections on the Experience

“The experience of having the New School students work with Groundswell artists and staff has been entirely wonderful and will be of a lasting benefit to the organization for many years to come. The students were sensitive and attuned to the needs of artists and staff when creating and facilitating their workshops and did a fantastic job of distilling the information that was extracted in the process. By giving Groundswell teaching artists and staff the opportunity to freely express the triumphs and challenges of the work and share their experience, expertise and best practices the New School students have given Groundswell an amazing gift. They have skillfully created a living document that will continue to be a useful resource as it teaches and informs future artists and staff.”

—Patrick Dougher, Program Director, Groundswell 



“One of the best parts of this project, along with our stellar community partner, was our team.  At one point, Sunaina said (something like), ‘We’re all juggling so much, but if one of us were to drop something the rest of us would make sure it didn’t hit the ground.;  That’s how supportive this group was–if one of us was struggling, or tired, or stressed, the rest would listen and fill in the gaps when needed.  That closeness and trust is what enabled us to think deeply and critically about how to engage artists and bring their voices into the community engagement work that Groundswell does.  I don’t think we would have learned or done as much with about being such a strong, loving group, and I’m grateful for these women!”

—Chelsea Weber, Student 



“We were tasked to unearth “the magic” that the Groundswell Teaching Artists were doing out in the community and working with the youth that produced such amazing outcomes. We realized that “the magic” was really just lots of hard work and dedication to the art, to the youth, to social change. And the “secret sauce” was the mentorships and friendships behind every engagement. Teaching Artists are not an island, they don’t work alone but in teams, and many times they end up creating relationships and mentorship that leads to life-long friendships, and that makes all the difference.  

When you’re working with your friends, when you’re part of a beloved community, work doesn’t feel like work, and that’s when magic happens.”

—Janie Shen, Student 



“My experience with Groundswell and our group embody the essence of Bell Hooks thoughts on the “Beloved Community”. I am grateful for the time and passion our group and the amazing teaching artists contributed throughout this project.

My commitment to community based arts and social justice has been strengthened by this project and has placed an emphasis on learning and connecting with people from the space of compassion and love.

The overall integrity that the Groundswell Teaching Artists bring to their work with the youth artists and throughout the communities they engage with thru the mural making process…is known as”The Magic”. The mural becomes the backdrop for youth artists to experience the affirmation of positive self-identity, healing and hope, imagination,inquiry and research, professional development, and civic/social justice engagement.”

—Koren Martin, Student 

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