Last week we introduced Marni Kotak and Hugo Rojas. This week, in the last installment of Art21 Educators introductions, we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Greenwell and Salem Robert Limpert!
Salem is in his first year teaching Language Arts/English Literature at the Lancaster Christian Academy in Smyrna, TN. Dennis has been teaching high school art for the past 13 years and currently teaches at the Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, TN. Based on their interest in collaboration and interdisciplinary education, Salem and Dennis decided to team up and apply for the Art21 Educators program this year.
Both Dennis and Salem describe artist Oliver Herring as an important source of inspiration for their work, in and outside of the classroom. Dennis was first introduced to Oliver Herring in 2010 at the First Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Shortly afterwards, Dennis and Salem volunteered to participate in Oliver’s epic performance exhibition “Areas for Action.” More recently, Dennis joined Herring and Art21 for a day-long TASK party at the National Art Education Association conference in NYC this year.
Dennis and Salem have also introduced their students to Herring’s artwork and ideas in different ways. As a Language Arts/English Literature teacher, Salem is interested in incorporating interdisciplinary strategies into his curriculum. At the beginning of the school year he showed a video of the “Areas for Action” performance to his students as a way of introducing them to the first semester in his classroom.
“I firmly believe that making these connections enriches the experience and study of literature. One of my recurring themes in the classroom is that almost anything can be read and evaluated as a work of literature. This includes film, music, religious texts, popular science, and philosophy, as well as contemporary art.”
As a Studio Art teacher, Dennis is also interested in interdisciplinary possibilities. Dennis is currently in the process of developing a unit that will combine visual art with music through painting and jazz:
“I have just started planning a unit with the jazz band teacher at my school based on the work of musician Ted Nash. I just happened onto a video of the jazz musician one day on MOMA’s website. He has written a wonderful piece of music inspired by seven paintings at MOMA. I was inspired. The jazz teacher and I are planning, for next year, to pair jazz students and painting students together to produce joint projects reflecting each other’s work. We want to video document the creative process and have live performances by the students.”
Both Dennis and Salem are developing some exciting new programs and projects at their schools and we are looking forward to the year ahead with them.
* This post was written with Dana Helwick, Art21 Educators Intern.