• Sonia Plumb

A Shout out to Women and Arts Education

As it is Women’s History Month I am taking a detour here from focusing on my own work to give a shout out to women I admire and to also emphasize the importance of arts education.

In January of 2019 I held the event Deconstructing da Vinci’s Notebooks at Upward Hartford. The event included a presentation by Professor Sean Cocco (Trinity College) and myself on the making of Dance of da Vinci. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion about Leonardo da Vinci and his influence on the arts and education.

Chion Wolf was the moderator and the panelists included: Rachel McAnallen, Amy Lamenzo and Caitlin Kenealy.

Chion Wolf is now a huge celebrity with her own show Audacious on NPR. Rachel McAnallen, better known as Ms. Math is a mathematician now in her 80’s I believe. She has traveled the world teaching the beauty of math, from as far away as Ethiopia to California and even taught my mother as an adult in Vermont. Amy Lamenzo is a visual artist and educator. She grew up in the United States, moved to Italy to study art, settled there and then returned here for a few years to be with her aging parents. She does art therapy work in schools for troubled children in addition to her own creative work. Her drawing for Dance of da Vinci now adorns SPDC swag. Caitlin Kenealy, our third panelist, teaches biology at CREC Academy of the Arts. Her students are artists in training. She is a comprehensive and forward thinking educator. I loved going into her classroom to see what projects they were tackling. I would also like to mention that the event was held at Upward Hartford, a truly inspiring space led by CEO, Shana Schlossberg, a woman entrepreneur I admire. I have met amazing people at Upward Hartford through our membership there. Shana is another forward thinker.

As I am talking about arts in education I would also like to mention Hartford Performs, an incredible organization that partners with Hartford Public Schools to provide arts education programming to Hartford students. I might add that Hartford Performs is led by a number of admirable women. SPDC has numerous programs offered to Hartford students through Hartford Performs.

I will finish this blog by reiterating the importance of education and arts in education. Education never ends. I say this as an adult, to remind us all that, as Leonardo said, “ Learning never exhausts the mind.”

Drawing by artist Amy Lamenzo for Dance of da Vinci.

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