I'm MIKE SMACZYLO, an art educator in Philadelphia Pennsylvania with a focus on urban education, educational activism & reform, and education for social liberation. I currently serve as the art teacher at Kensington Health Sciences Academy, in the East Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. I attended the University of the Arts, obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration and obtained a Master of Education degree in Art Education at Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
At the heart of my teaching philosophy lies the belief that all students lives, stories, and art have value. It is my belief that students have a right to advocate for themselves, and to advocate for their futures. The goal of my teaching practice is to spread knowledge and enable students to advocate for themselves and their communities, to better ensure a just and equitable future.
It is my belief that the practice of making art is essential to this lifelong revolutionary process. Through art, students connect more deeply to themselves, their peers, their inspirations, and their communities. This connection allows them to craft and control their own narratives, their own personal stories and expressions through art. It is through these narratives, themes, points of view, and experiences that students achieve the agency to make true social change in the world, reshaping the future for themselves.
I believe a visual arts curriculum should be focused on developing creativity, honing their own personal interests, and generating art that is deeply personal to themselves and can represent their connection to their community or the world as a whole. I focus on helping students refine their skills in order to more efficiently express their own personal artistic viewpoints.